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Davita's Harp [EPUB] ✵ Davita's Harp By Chaim Potok – Buyprobolan50.co.uk 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 bet 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 uestioning inner pain and a test of her budding spirit of independence.

  • Hardcover
  • 371 pages
  • Davita's Harp
  • Chaim Potok
  • English
  • 14 December 2015
  • 9780394542904

About the Author: Chaim Potok

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 At age he made his first submission to the magazine The Atlantic Monthly Although it wasn't published he received a n.

10 thoughts on “Davita's Harp

  1. BlackOxford BlackOxford says:

    There Are No WordsGood fiction adapts to circumstances as it ages What was immediately on the mind of the author and the details of his experiences are important beyond the times in which or about which they were written I suppose this is of working definition of what’s meant by a ‘classic’ In this sense at least I think Davita’s Harp ualifies as just that a classicPotok’s book was written in 1985 but its setting is the late 1930’s This is an era of severe political division and aggression in the United States Communism and Fascism combat each other in local neighbourhoods as well as in international politics and military action Unionising and union busting often violent are commonplace The horror of the Spanish Civil War is being pursued enthusiastically and brutally by both sides Stalin starves the Ukrainians while Hitler de personalises the German JewsThe immediate context inhabited by Potok’s protagonist a young American girl with a Christian father and Jewish mother is casually anti Semitic at all levels of society from the playground to the boardroom Easter European Jews are not only the most recent immigrants they are also the most visible representatives of Marxist ideology and the chosen enemy of German fascists for whom there is substantial American sympathy So Jews are the natural object of moral panicBut since she knows nothing about Judaism she is also scorned by the Jewish community who simply don’t comprehend her status As in a story told to her by a family friend who is also a writer she is a grey horse living alone between a herd of black horses and a herd of white horses No matter which herd she decides to join she will be an outcaste On the face of it this is a rather banal metaphor But Potok has something in mind which makes the girl a universal figure a representative of the entire world Thus creating artuite apart from the global ideologies and the emotional prejudices within her family and community two fundamental principles are clearly at issue throughout the book justice and freedom To oversimplify but not by much the Torah is the symbol of ultimate divine justice Although she is not religious this priority is reflected in the mother’s Socialism For the father’s family the King James Bible is the epitome of freedom both in its creation and its continued importance in the rugged culture of rural Northern New England Each group is alien to the other involving very different experiences and interpretations of the same textThe young protagonist doesn’t know it but she is caught in the crossfire between the two interpretations of existential reality Her mixed religious background is part of the metaphor for this situation as is the CommunistFascist antipathy and the visible misogyny everywhere How justice and freedom are prioritised and interpreted determines which side of the political and religious divide one ends up on The dialectic is not inherent in either concept; but historically they have emerged as contradictory forcing a cultural choice upon the girlIt is here that the writerly friend of the girl’s mother emerges to suggest something crucial While reporting on his experiences in the Spanish War he writes “Here things happen daily for which there are no words” His experience of the crimes and inhumanity of both sides is not merely indescribable It is descriptions of the conflict in terms of ideologies religions and opposing causes that is to say words that are the origins of the conflict itself The opposition among these ideologies religious beliefs and causes is as tenuous artificial and as historically conditioned as the dialectic of freedom and justice The writer abandons politics completely in an attempt to escapeAnd there the real paradox beings to appear Words giveth and Words taketh away Only death or mental collapse is the end of words both often caused by the words The mythical Yiddish witch Baba Yaga will do to represent words to the young girl The witch torments her dreams But the words of the Kaddish the Jewish prayer for the dead provide her only comfort when her father is killed at Guernica Her mother too ultimately finds hope in words strangely through the ministrations of her Christian evangelical sister in law Both use words but not in accepted waysPeople don’t like your stories especially political stories if you don’t come down for either justice or freedom as the most important thing in life Refusing to choose means you’re likely to remain the grey horse isolated between the white and black herds Abandoning words is not a sensible option Finding some other words to deal with a profoundly tragic and complicated reality is the real challenge In this light Potok’s story although the best part of half a century old retains its relevance

  2. Skylar Burris Skylar Burris 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 ambitionThis 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 fulfilledThe only death to fear is the death of settling for something lessThe 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 uite

  3. Jessica Jessica 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 uite 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

  4. Corinne Edwards Corinne Edwards 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 freuently and her nights are spent in a strange dream of Spain and FascismBefore 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 freedomWhat 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 herselfThe 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 timeDavita's Harp is amazing it has an almost mystical uality 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 mostThis 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

  5. Michelle Michelle 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 againHowever 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 memberThis is a slow thoughtful book One of Potok's talents is creating very real characters with an eual 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 yearsThis 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

  6. Jeremy Eisenhauer Jeremy Eisenhauer 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 uniue 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 ualities 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

  7. Biz German Biz German 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 uality is so exceptionally uniue and extensive I really loved this book

  8. Kressel Housman Kressel Housman 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. Addela Addela says:

    I wish I was still in school so I could have an excuse to write a 20 page essay about this bookI love Chaim Potok's novels in part because they're so universal despite their specific subject matter Potok writes about the Jewish community—about the struggles young Jewish people face as they come of age and find their place in society But his larger themes resonate Whether or not a reader is religious they should be able to find something they relate to in Potok's books His stories after all are about much than religion They're about friendship adolescence familial conflict and self discovery; they're about truth grief loss hope and the redeeming power of art Davita's Harp is no exception It's a beautiful book that on one level is about a girl who finds herself drawn to Judaism although her parents are non religious On another level it's about how the same evil that drives certain people away from religion can drive others to it It's about how we choose to confront the darkness in the world whether we do it through belief in a God or through belief in a political ideology It is ultimately about sacred discontent—the knowledge that the world is inherently broken and that we were meant for something greater Davita's Harp is also a coming of age story and the protagonist's growth is a joy to witness Potok writes from Davita's perspective as compellingly as he did Asher Lev and Reuven Malter; I was glad he treated her with the same reverence as his male protagonists Writing from the POV of a different sex can be challenging but Davita is thoughtful intelligent and curious and Potok never downplays these traits or seems compelled to make her frivolous—somehow—in light of her genderThis is a good example of how male authors can convincingly write female characters and vice versa by writing about them first and foremost as well drawn characters The rest should be secondaryview spoilerOh And speaking of Reuven Malter he makes some cameos here as a classmate of Davita's I may or may not have screamed a little when his name first appeared hide spoiler

  10. Poiema Poiema says:

    I think I rated the other Chaim Potok books 5 stars but this one did not engage me uite 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 worldAs 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 mankindAnother 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 likingAlthough 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

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