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Davita's Harp: A Novel Paperback – August 27, 1996
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“Rich . . . enchanting . . . [Chaim] Potok's bravest book.”—The New York Times Book Review
“It is an enormous pleasure to sink into such a rich . . . solidly written novel. The reader knows from the first few pages that he is in the hands of a sure professional who won't let him down.”—People
“Engrossing . . . Filled with a host of richly drawn characters. Potok is a master storyteller.”—Chicago Tribune
“Gripping and intriguing . . . A well-told tale that needed telling.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
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
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I HIGHLY recommend Old Men at Midnight, my favorite Potok book, & The Chosen, Potok's most popular book. Will try the Asher Lev books instead.
Yes, before the War some actually believed that Uncle Joe and the Soviet Union was the way to go (much to the regret of many standing before another Uncle Joe after the conflict).
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.