In book club a few years back I was introduced to an author that opened up to me a previously unknown and fascinating world. The book was called:
Rueven is the son of a writer and scholar. He is intelligent, popular and has a head for mathematics. His father wants him to be a mathematician when he grows up.
Danny is brilliant and has a photograhic memory. He is fascinated by psychology, but feels trapped by his Hasidic traditions. He especially feels trapped by the fact that he will have to succeed his father as the next Rabbi. - Wikipedia
This book was so interesting to me. The friendship between the boys is beautiful and poignant. Learning about the Jewish culture and the differences between the Jewish sects and how they view each other was fascinating. Learning of the history and the politics of the time was also very interesting.
The Chosen has a sequel called The Promise. I'm pretty sure I read it, but it must not have had the same impact because I don't remember the details of it now.
After The Chosen I moved on to another great book called:
Also a very fascinating book. The turmoil that his art brings to the sect and the conflict it causes between his mother and father is very provocative. Asher's gift won't be denied and he constantly pushes against the barriers of his religious traditions and his fathers authority until he finally paints a scene that is so heinous in the minds of his sect that he is forced to leave. The conflict is riveting.
Their is a sequel to this book called The Gift of Asher Lev and it is also very good.
The final book from Potoks fictional work I will review is called:
Fascinating book on the way religion can shape our lives for good or ill. Everything is written from the point of view of a little girl(Davita) and her struggle to understand her parents and her world is very intriguing. Also the disillusionment and insight that comes when something we believed to be true is exposed as a fallacy is deftly explored. The political events that shape their lives(WWII and Stalin signing a nonaggression pact with Hitler) is also very interesting.
Potok may have planned a sequel to Davita's Harp, but he never wrote it. Davita reappears in the collection of stories called Old Men at Midnight. - wikipedia
Chaim Potok was born February 17, 1929 and died on July 23, 2002. He was an American Jewish author and Rabbi. You can find a more in depth look at his life and writing career here