Davita's Harp

Davita's Harp For Davita Chandal, Growing Up In The New York Of The S And S 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

Herman Harold Potok, or Chaim Tzvi, was born in Buffalo, New York, to Polish immigrants He received an Orthodox Jewish education After reading Evelyn Waugh s novel Brideshead Revisited as a teenager, he decided to become a writer He started writing fiction at the age of 16 At age 17 he made his first submission to the magazine The Atlantic Monthly Although it wasn t published, he received a n

[Read] ➬ Davita's Harp By Chaim Potok – Ultimatetrout.info
  • Hardcover
  • 371 pages
  • Davita's Harp
  • Chaim Potok
  • English
  • 08 March 2017
  • 9780394542904

10 thoughts on “Davita's Harp

  1. says:

    This is a moving, haunting, and occasionally ambiguous novel that is ultimately about the value of sacred discontent At first it may seem as if the message is that religion is an opiate of the people, soothing them and comforting them and preventing them from confronting the naked evil of the world, but that is not the thrust of the novel The characters in Potok s story reminded me that if religion is a crutch, it is far from the only one Potok made me recall Herman Wouk s assertion that speaking of crutches Freud can be a crutch, Marx can be a crutch, rationalism can be a crutch, and atheism can be two canes and a pair of iron braces We none of us have all the answers, nor are we likely to have But in the country of the halt, the man who is surest he has no limp may be the worst crippled Potok shows the reader that we are living in the country of the halt, and that if we don t realize we are limping and allow ourselves a crutch, we will remain permanently broken But he also shows us that being religious should not mean being complacent, and that our discontent with the world is a sign that we were made for something And here I am reminded of what Richard John Nuehaus wrote in his meditation Death on a Friday Afternoon, and this I think sums up the message I felt was subtly and emotionally painted for me by Potok s book For paradise we long For perfection we were made We don t know what it would look like or feel like, but we must settle for nothing less This longing is the source of the hunger and dissatisfaction that mark our lives it drives our ambition This longing makes our loves and friendships possible, and so very unsatisfactory The hunger is for nothing less than paradise, nothing less than perfect communion with the Absolute with the Good, the True, the Beautiful communion with the perfectly One in whom all the fragments of our scattered existence come together at last and forever We must not stifle this longing It is a holy dissatisfaction Such dissatisfaction is not a sickness to be healed, but the seed of a promise to be fulfilled The only death to fear is the death of settling for something less The end fell a little flat for me was that partially the point And there were times when the narrator simply was not believable as an eight to ten year old girl There were some slight sterotypes in his portrayls of devout Christians and orthodox Jews, but Potok did clearly try to find some balance there Nearly five stars, but not quite.

  2. says:

    It s sad to me that everyone reads THE CHOSEN in school, and not this amazing gem of a book I barely remember THE CHOSEN, but I could rhapsodize for hours about DAVITA S HARP The characters are wonderful and real, and Davita s search for truth, for knowledge, and for family is heartbreaking and lovely The daughter of two left wing activists, Davita s sudden fascination with the Hasidic world her mother abandoned is baffling to her parents and their friends But to a child whose life contains too many paradoxes and too many tragedies, the comfort of the rituals and faith of the Jewish religion have an obvious appeal It s, quite simply, a shining jewel of a book, and it makes me want to both hold Davita close to my heart to comfort her, and to have a deep philosophical conversation with her.

  3. says:

    When we meet Ilana Davita she is around 8 years old, in the late 1930s She lives in New York City with her writer activist parents in a non religious household The subject for which her parents have nearly radical zeal is, we learn through Davita s listening in to conversations and nightly meetings, communism Her parent s decisions and activism, their friends and political struggles lie at the heart of Davita s young life they move frequently and her nights are spent in a strange dream of Spain and Fascism Before I read this book I had no sense that the second World War played such a vital role within the context of the story, and the communist movement within America at the start of the war is a perspective I have never read about before Davita s entire life is shaped by involvement of people she loves within the War either first hand or through political leanings that taint the reputation and limits one s freedom.What I particularly loved about this book is Potok s firm grasp of a young child s voice their understandings and misunderstandings The entire tale is told from Davita s point of view and we often share her frustration as she understands that very important things are happening and all she can do is wait to be told or try to figure it out for herself.The characters in this story are deep and vivid I loved Davita s depth less thirst for knowledge about the meanings of words, about the war, and, eventually of Judaism and the Torah Her decision to become religious on her own, despite her mother s disapproval, felt very real and was a thread throughout the book that I found particularly engaging The other characters her parents, the friends of her parents and even Davita s own friends, never felt false or caricatured Each person was flawed and yet full of different strengths that Davita used to help find her own way through the trauma of war and of growing up in a tumultuous time.Davita s Harp is amazing, it has an almost mystical quality about it The harp itself, which hangs on a door and is an omen of both good and bad but mostly is a tinkling constant throughout her childhood, becomes a haven within the story world that Davita retreats to when life becomes than her imagination can handle Because her world is sometimes incredibly harsh and confusing, her search for truth and good occasionally becomes a struggle against those she loves and respects the most.This is a story of the uselessness of war, the truth that can be found between the lines of stories and the pages of books, the beauty and reality of Judaism and the reconciliation of a girl with the world that she was born into A triumph.

  4. says:

    FantasticoUn romanzo scoperto per caso, ma che mi ha permesso di leggere pagine toccanti e fiabesche nello stesso tempo Ambientato durante il periodo della guerra civile spagnola, vi viene rappresentato, attraverso gli occhi semplici di una bambina, un mondo drammatico di guerre e persecuzioni, di odio e violenza Davita riesce a sopportare la realt quotidiana grazie alla fantasia e all immaginazione, cos da trasformare il racconto in un succedersi melodioso di suoni e di immagini Ci che rimane dunque, a lettura conclusa, una sensazione di dolcezza e di forza insieme E mentre si percepiscono le note dell arpa eolia, come accompagnamento in sottofondo, sembra di essere immersi in una delle fantastiche rappresentazioni del Messaggio Biblico , presso il Mus e Marc Chagall di Nizza mondi colorati e onirici, con i personaggi che si sollevano sopra citt e colline, pervasi da una nostalgia diffusaIntensa anche la descrizione del dipinto Guernica di Picasso, attraverso il quale Davita rivive la morte del padre.

  5. says:

    This book I read within days after I finished Asher Lev Chaim Potok has become somewhat of an obsession in our house hold ever since James Moes got me to read Asher Lev Davita s Harp had me even hooked than Asher Lev did At first I was wondering if the stories were going to entwine because of the setting and time, because of the age of the characters and both Davita s and Asher s similarly unique ways of thinking and speaking Obviously Potok has found a brilliant way to portray the thoughts and feelings of young people, and especially, young girls I personally gravitate towards darker things colors, books, film , and general dark topics So when Davita s Harp began to take on these darker qualities, I became enthralled The seasons were noted very often, and the moods of the characters often suited the temperature and weather outside very well A big tension point was the relationship with Davita s mother, and her Uncle Jakob Daw I loved Jakob Daws stories, but found his character unnerving, and didn t enjoy his presence when he was with the Chandal family I especially felt anxiety over Jakob when Potok would hint that Jakob and Channah, Davita s mother, were having an affair Despair and darkness came in the bitter winter months, while happiness and hope often came in summer Hints of sexual exploration intrigued me to wonder how Potok was looked upon as a Rabbi in the Jewish communities.

  6. says:

    As I write this review the REM song Losing My Religion is on the tv, which is apt as that s one of the themes of this complicated, melancholic novel Ilana Davita is growing up in New York in the 1930s and the 1940s Both parents, Hannah and Michael, are ardent communists Communism has replaced the religions of their childhood The Eastern European Hasidism of Ilana s mother, and the New England Episcopalian life of her father Both parents are haunted by cruel childhood events, which they believe a communist revolution would stop from happening again.However the Spanish Civil War and WWII wreak havoc with Ilana s family and their beliefs Time and time again, the characters are forced to lo lose their religion to examine their politics, their religion, their love for a flawed family member.This is a slow, thoughtful book One of Potok s talents is creating very real characters, with an equal measure of flaws and strengths Hannah is a particularly neglectful parent by today s standards she leaves barely 10 year old Ilana alone in their apartment at night to attend political meetings and rallies, and seems blind to her daughter s difficulties at school and inability to fit in And yet Hannah s idealism and ferventness is understandable as the book reveals her early years.This is the only one of Potok s books with a female protagonist Through Ilana the reader sees the difficulties women face in fundamentalist religions, in this case orthodox judaism, but also the strength of community and warmth of belonging While this is a coming of age story, it s not intended for teenagers, many of whom would find the slow pace and introspection boring let alone have no knowledge of one of the most pivotal times in history I ve re read this many times, starting with it s first publication when I was barely twenty to now in my forties, with my own children Each time I take away something different, which is testament to the many layers within this story.

  7. says:

    Un libro di una bellezza incredibile, raccontato in prima persona da Ilana Davita, una ragazzina di otto anni, che parla di politica, di famiglia, di solitudine, del cosa vuol dire crescere, del cosa vuol dire essere una ragazza, in un America della fine degli anni trenta Il tutto con il sottofondo musicale di un arpa eolica I pensieri sono semplici e lineari come solo i bambini sono capaci di fare.Ma Ilana, una bambina speciale intelligente, arguta, curiosa, con una sensibilit fuori dal comune, ma anche sola Una bambina ebrea da parte di madre, il padre cristiano ma entrambi non sono credenti, che impara a crescersi da sola, forse anche normale per i tempi un po meno per i nostri I genitori Anna e Micheal sono molto impegnati politicamente con il partito di sinistra a New York e instaurano un rapporto con la figlia non come adulto e bambino ma quasi come da pari a pari E questo anche un vantaggio, perch una bambina che cresce indipendente e legge, e tanto, anche quello che normalmente leggerebbe un grande.Potok ci mostra il periodo storico con gli occhi di una bambina l ascesa del fascismo, la guerra civile in Spagna, la tragedia di Guernica, la delusione della sinistra, le paure e in alcuni casi l ignoranza degli ebrei E bello vedere anche come questo scrittore, nonostante sia rabbino, sembra capire la disegualianza che c tra uomini e donne nella sua religione e attraverso Ilana le mette in evidenza.Ma oltre a Davita e i genitori, il libro pieno di bellissime persone come Jackob Daw e Zia Sarah, ma anche il Signor Dinn, David, i signori Helfman e la figlia Ruthie e dopo tutto quello che ho scritto, ho l impressione di non essere riuscita in pieno a descrivere la bellezza di questo libro

  8. says:

    My rating is based on my enjoyment of this novel when I read it, but it was such a very different stage in life for me, I don t know how I d like it now It s the story of Davita, the daughter of a left wing and literary Jewish mother and a left wing activist father There s also an uncle of sorts in there, a prototype of Chaim Potok a Yiddish writer Besdies Davita, he was my favorite character, speaking in beautiful but undecipherable parables In spite of her left wing background, Davita becomes enad of traditional Judaism and becomes a baalas teshuva of sorts I say of sorts because Chaim Potok is notoriously inaccurate in his portrayal of Orthodox and Hasidic Jews Speaking as an ex lefty who did teshuva, I loved this book once upon a time It certainly didn t turn me off But everyone reading Chaim Potok should be forewarned, he s no expert on the real inner life of Hasidic Jews.

  9. says:

    I think I rated the other Chaim Potok books 5 stars, but this one did not engage me quite so much It was different from the others in that the protagonist was female and only around 9 years old It developed into a coming of age story Davita s first person narrative was a little choppy I assume the author created simplistic sentences and dialog in keeping with her age She often relayed adult conversation and then remarked I didn t understand But the themes Potok explores are anything but simplistic He delved into the subject of watershed moments that change a person forever such as war injuries, or witnessing horrible injustice, experiencing displacement or betrayal Some individuals emerge from these scarring incidents with something the author calls sacred discontent, which catapults them forward to fervently write or paint or become a political activist or channel their angst in some way to redeem the pain and better the world.As always, Potok writes about the culture he knows best Judaism It is my observation that his stories portray tension between Jewish sects or between Jew vs Christian, or in this case practicing vs nonpracticing Jews He then proceeds to create a breakthrough of understanding between the factions that is enormously heartwarming and affirms your hope in mankind.Another earmark of Potok s writing is his use of symbolism In this book it is a door harp and though it is a lovely symbol, it could have been treated subtly It seemed to be trotted out a bit too often and and the notes it struck were too ethereal for my liking.Although I have criticized these points, there is still much to love in this book well drawn characters, beautiful portrayals of faith, a happy ending that left me with a warm satisfaction.

  10. says:

    The architecture of the core themes of this book was so well constructed I guess I don t think about the authors of books very often as I m reading them I typically think only about the stories and the characters But the contents of this book were so beautifully written and so masterfully unfolded that I found myself thinking often about Potok s incredible skill in writing it I loved the three birds I of course loved the harp I loved Davita s trueness to herself, her searching and her courage and undeviating authenticity, as well as her social misfitting and her many hours spent comfortably in solitude I won t talk about my feelings of her vision at the end of her dad, Sarah, and Jakob Daw, giving her graduation speech other than to say that I loved it and have relied on it A lot of books are about yearning A lot of books are about growing up and about losing and finding and discovering and building identity and finding one s place and realizing important things after such a long time of feeling like you don t understand anything at all This book is about those things too, but its quality is so exceptionally unique and extensive I really loved this book.

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