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Paperback Davita's Harp Book

ISBN: 0449911837

ISBN13: 9780449911839

Davita's Harp

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

For Davita Chandal, growing up in New York in the 1930s and '40s is an experience of indescribable joy--and unfathomable sadness. Her loving parents, both fervent radicals, fill her with the fiercely bright hope for a new, better world. But the deprivations of war and the Depression take their ruthless toll. And Davita, unexpectedly, finds in the Jewish faith that her mother had long ago abandoned both a solace to her questioning inner pain and a...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

An engaging and beautifully written novel

Most critics that I've read often say that Davita's Harp is good, but not Potok's best. However, this has turned out to be my favorite of his novels, and definitely one of my favorite novels, period. It's beautifully written, with a sensitivity and bittersweet-ness that only Potok can create. Though it's definitely scholarly with a lot of dense subject matter, Potok doesn't make it over our heads. He was the kind of writer that seeks to make us understand without preaching, rather than to show us how much he knew, and the result is a lyrically written, wonderful story of the joys, sorrows, and trials of the human spirit

Incredible--better than Harry Potter

I thought I was in love with Dostoyevsky until I read this book and discovered I'm in love with Potok. This book, although slow in the beginning twists several stories and themes around the central character, Davita. Reading it is as if a million ink dots transformed into a hand which reached from the pages to grip your mind. Entertaining and moving on both surface and deep levels. I also enjoyed the historical context, including the portrayl of Guerica. Potok is a lyrical genius. This is a must read!

"Davita's Harp" -- Beautiful, Beautiful "Eye Music"

A co-worker of mine, a roly-poly joy and delight of a human being, on the cusp of retirement, urged me to read this book. My first thought was, "Oh, Potok...'The Chosen,' 'The Promise' -- required reading for high schoolers, maybe a little dry and boring...." I told her I was reading a big, fat book and it was going to take me ages to complete (I wasn't fibbing; that was the truth). She said, "Take it. I guarantee you, you'll love it. Read it, whenever...return it, whenever."Thank you, dear kind (wise) lady. This was one of my favorite books of the 1980s (and I read about 500 books a decade) -- I will never forget how immersed I was in the story, to the point where I lost absolutely all sense of time and place. As soon as I finished "Davita," I sadly returned it to her, for this book is a keeper. At the end of that workday, I RAN and bought everything Potok had written up to that point. They were all wonderful, but "Davita" will always be my favorite, with "Chosen" and "Promise" both running a close second.I read everything Potok wrote pre-1990, and strongly urge you to read this author. But start with "Davita."

Everything has a past

Boy was this a wonderful book! It was the first I have ever read by this author, (although I had seen the movie The Chosen many years ago when I was too young to appreciate it) and I plan to read many more. My concern before beginning the book was that religion was going to be presented as the solution to life's problems- our salvation, so to speak, and not being a religious person myself, I thought that would be a major turnoff- even though I knew it was also supposedly a beautiful coming-of-age story- my favorite type of novel. Well, this book did not disappoint in the slightest- not only did it indeed turn out to be a wonderful story about growing up, it was also a profound exploration of religion and the different meaning it has in the lives of different people. It is the story of Davita, who discovers how religion can help one endure during times of difficulty, and her mother, who many years ago had giving up her religion, but then returns to it- in a way that makes sense for her. At one point she stated, "Everything has a past. If you don't know that past, you can't understand the present and plan properly for the future." This is what the women did: rather than blindly commit to all aspects of orthodox Judiasm, they took what made sense to them, given their own life experiences. This was a beautiful book about growing, changing, and religion, and I recommend it to both religious and non-religious people. Those who read it will do what Davita and her mother did: weigh everything, consider the options, and in the end go with what has meaning for them.

A beautiful coming of age story

I have heard this book criticized because a male author is delving in to the mind a girl growing to adulthood up. They say that Ilana Davita does not ring true as a female character. I could not disagree more. So much about Ilana rings true. Much of her I recognize in myself. I too am the child of parents of strong ideology and had to find my own way. The cruel response of both teacher and classmates as she expressed her parents views about Stalin brought tears to my eyes. I recall a similar experience in my own life. It is a beautiful story of a girl longing for a feeling of belonging and finding it in Jewish faith. I recommend this book without reservation. Chaim Potok is a wonderful author, (he also wrote The Chosen which is my all time favorite book) and I think he created a believable, precocious, hurting girl who finds faith and healing and perseveres through hardship and injustice.
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