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Davita's Harp Paperback – August 27, 1996
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From the Publisher
Davita's Harp is a terrific read by Chiam Potok. He captures the mood, tensions and conflicts in the lives of the Jewish community in this country during the terrible times of McCarthyism and paranoia. As a Jewish child who was raised during that period, I found this to be a touching affirmation of all that we felt. Ruth RossArt Director, Ballantine Books
From the Inside Flap
For Davita Chandal, growing up in the New York of the 1930s and '40s is an experience of joy and sadness. Her loving parents, both fervent radicals, fill her with the fiercely bright hope of a new and better world. But as the deprivations of war and depression take a ruthless toll, Davita unexpectedly turns to the Jewish faith that her mother had long ago abandoned, finding there both a solace for her questioning inner pain and a test of her budding spirit of independence.
"From the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Davita's faith ultimately saves her mother as the latter becomes isolated and dissolutioned with the socialism of Stalin. Davita becomes a star student at the Yesheva where she enrolls (and meets Reuben Malter the protagonist of the CHosen and The Promise). Davita seeks from orthodoxy what the men are granted and is denied equal standing both intellectually and religiously. She has blossomed so much that she outgrows the confines of the tradition she loves.
The novel ends with Davita on the margins, entering her teens and facing an important decision of what path this pios and brilliant loving child will take.
We are left wondering about Davita's future that is taken up in a later novel "Old Men at Midnight" where she appears in three stories at different times in her adult life as a foil against which three other main characters are developed. We learn later that she embrasses acadamia.
Upton Sinclair ends his famous novel "The Jungle" (written in the early 1900's) with a cry that socialism is the answer. We see in Davita's harp what Sinclair will ultimately descover for himself decades later that socialism is a dead end and barren as far as meeting basic human spiritual needs.
Potok's powerful novels and his fictional Brooklyn society are the conflicts between the old world traditions and a rapidly changing America. He is a master story teller, writes beautiful prose, writes with sufficient patience and depth that the cultural material is understandable and accessable to all who read his works. His themes are timeless and universal. One day he will be looked upon as an underappreciated great American novelist. Don't miss a single piece of his writing.
This was my first encounter with Chaim Potok and I simply couldn't put it down.
The subtle entanglement of the dark historical events which take place and the everyday family life which we witness is perfectly balanced and executed.