Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Gift of Asher Lev” as Want to Read:
The Gift of Asher Lev
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Gift of Asher Lev

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  5,042 ratings  ·  277 reviews
"Rivals anything Chaim Potok has ever produced. It is a book written with passion about passion. You're not likely to read anything better this year."
THE DETROIT NEWS
Twenty years have passed for Asher Lev. He is a world-renowned artist living in France, still uncertain of his artistic direction. When his beloved uncle dies suddenly, Asher and his family rush back to Brookl
...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 10th 1997 by Ballantine Books (first published 1990)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Gift of Asher Lev, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Gift of Asher Lev

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankCatch-22 by Joseph HellerThe Complete Stories by Franz KafkaThe Chosen by Chaim PotokMan's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
The Best of Jewish Authors
29th out of 440 books — 108 voters
The Chosen by Chaim PotokThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael ChabonMy Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim PotokSophie's Choice by William Styron
Jews in Literature
60th out of 449 books — 239 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mike
Spoilers for My Name is Asher Lev and this book below.

Is there a plan? Does God have a plan or are we at the mercy of an uncaring universe where bad things happen to good people? The question of whether or not the universe is ordered permeates this book, though in a rather subtle way. The book doesn't actually provide an answer to this question, but this question weighs on the minds of the characters as their world becomes more uncertain.

I'm not going to lie, I thought the ending of My Name Is A
...more
Joyce Lagow
It is 20 years after the events in the first book, My Name is Asher Lev. Lev has lived those years in France--currently in a small town in the south of France. He is married, with two children, his daughter Rochelel and his young son Avrumel. Lev has just had a disastrous show in Paris; while all his works sold, those critics he respects have been devastating, calling his work repetitive and worse. Agreeing, Lev is now suffering through a dry period--he can not paint. In the midst of all this, L ...more
Jana
I LOVED this book. I think everyone one who has read My Name is Asher Lev should read this book. It took me all summer to read, basically because it is the kind of book that you linger over. I savored reading it, and really didn't want to finish. Not only are the chapters beautifully written, but the storyline balances out the difficulties Asher faced in his youth. This is twenty years later, when he has a wife and 2 children, and is now returning to the U.S. It is about redemption, hope, and su ...more
Syme
A wonderful complex novel about individuality vs the community, with religion, art, family and depression all thrown in the mix. That, and mesmerising prose. Potok, you legend.
Sherry
I finished this book before I even had time to add it to my "Currently Reading" list. There will never be enough Potok in my life.
Andrea
I first read Chaim Potok's books when I was 13 and I received The Chosen and My Name is Asher Lev from my Hebrew school teacher as a bat mitzvah present. I remember coming home from the ceremony and the celebration and how I was so happy to be alone and read these books.

Now, when collective Judaism is very hard for me to connect to, I enjoyed entering into Chaim Potok's description of an individual's struggle between himself as an individual and himself as a member of a strong and deep religiou
...more
Karen
I really loved these two books but like many others felt let down with the rushed ending. You know what is going to happen in the end but more could definitely have been added...some resolutions of the mind and relationships of Asher. This book made me think about compromise for the good of all involved...The need for acceptance even though you don't condone the actions. A great story of the need for balance in all areas of life and to forgive and love unconditionaly.
Rebekah stefaniuk
I am always skeptical about sequels, but this one was amazing. I would say I liked this one even better than My name is Asher Lev. Asher's a bit older and has a family in this one, so his issues are different. There is a mystery woven throughout this novel pertaining to a riddle that the rabbi shares at Asher's uncle's death. A really great book. Highly recommended.
Katie Wahlquist
At first I didn't like it as much as My Name is Asher Lev, but as I got going, I LOVED it! It was an interesting look at sacrifice. Great books, wonderful author.
Taryn
My favorite book of all time is My Name Is Asher Lev. I adore it. It speaks truth into my life every time I read it.

The Gift of Asher Lev is also a life-giving book to me. I adore Chaim Potok's writing, and I appreciate the way he continues the story of Asher's life in this book. I can't figure out where to begin to spill all my thoughts and feelings about this book. It may be over dramatic, but I feel that The Gift completes My Name in the way Asher speaks of things needing to be completed. It'
...more
Austin
I really wanted to like this book, because I loved 'My Name is Asher Lev.' Unfortunately, this book just wasn't nearly up to snuff. To begin with, nothing happens. Asher, the main character, in particular is static. The entire book he has painter's block, so he just mopes around as is depressed. A large portion of the book is also flashbacks (which in the case of his wife are sometimes pretty interesting and touching--her character is a good new one to get to know) or else Asher's intuition abou ...more
Jennifer Spiegel
I’m going to give away the end, so you may need to stop reading. But it’s the end I want to talk about.

First, I adored the earlier book, My Name is Asher Lev (1972). I think it is, without exaggeration, a profound statement on the integrity of the artist. Second, everyone told me that the sequel, The Gift of Asher Lev (1990), wasn’t very good. Well, it wasn’t as good as the first, but it wasn’t that bad, either. I still found it absorbing, worth reading, and very interesting. Generally speaking
...more
Kristen
I liked this even more than My Name is Asher Lev. I am not quite sure where to begin. This is my third Potok book in about a month, and I continue to get absorbed in his writing style in such a real way that I find myself thinking about the book and characters throughout the day and into the evening.

I wondered for some of the book if there was any possibility of truth to Asher's character, or if it was heavily stereotyped. Sad, lonely, selfish artist forced to choose between art and his family,
...more
Doug Bradshaw
**SPOILER ALERT ** This review talks about some of the main plot lines in the book.

These books are full of excellent symbolism, from Asher's crucifixion paintings connoting the suffering of especially his mother but perhaps of the whole Jewish community, to his picture of Abraham with Isaac, Isaac actually being sacrificed. I think about Asher's father being full of rage seeing the pictures, and I think of a man who hasn't learned much in life, unable to understand anything except extremely cons
...more
Shawn
The strength of Potok is the honesty and depth to his characters and their communities. In his stories of the Ladovers there is beauty and love, anger and disappointment, hope and despair. One feels like they have truly stepped into this world of the Hasid, which for me is at once alien and familiar. In some ways, I feel like Asher: I am connected to this world, but not part of it. Asher of course is a part of the Hasidic world, buy he is in a kind of exile within it. Asher's duality here allows ...more
Victor
In this book's predecessor, My Name is Asher Lev, there is much struggle in Asher's mind between following his strict religion & community or breaking away and painting what he sees in the world, even if goes against his religion. In The Gift of Asher Lev there is only a little of this struggle. The main struggle is with his family--where should they live? What will become of the children? What will his father do when the Rebbe dies? What does his wife really want?

A lot of the text is Asher'
...more
Jason Shatkin
Potok wrote this book 5 years after his last book. He should have stayed in retirement. Aside of being overly descriptive in meaningless scenery, Potoks book is obsessed with Art, yet never developed anything. I felt that no part of the story was settled and was an incredible waste of my time.
Examples are his uncles art collection. "Oh. Just keep it in storage"?? Really??? It's destroying his family and just keep it in storage???

Asher lev gave a picture to his son as a gift. And that was suppo
...more
JoAnna
This is the sequel to "My Name is Asher Lev." Asher is now married and grown up with children of his own. He is a successful artist, but finds himself trying to recover after a show in Paris where the critics weren't so pleased with his work. His uncle in Brooklyn passes away and he takes his family to New York for the funeral and mourning. His wife, Devorah, lost her parents as a child and she finds herself enjoying the family and community in Brooklyn. They end up extending their 10 day trip m ...more
Nibra Tee
This book is beautiful and fragile and layered I need a bit of a time to digest it.
Christian Schwoerke
This sequel to the Potok's first novel about Asher Lev (My Name is Asher Lev) is again a tale of an artist's agnostic negative capabilities paired with and against his adherence to his faith and community. Again the Rebbe is the patron and guiding spirit that comprehends and contains Asher's gift, even when Asher himself has no idea what it's all about.

The novel's pace is slower than in the former, but the careful unfolding of the stages of Asher's realization of the sacrifice he will make, the
...more
Michelle
Read this after recently rereading My Name is Asher Lev. This book is also challenging but in the end more satisfying, I think. I'm still uncomfortable with it, but was completely mesmerized by this story. I just could not put it down. One of the most compelling novels I've read. I knew the ending--it seemed inescapable throughout most of the book. Stunning and heartbreaking with a tiny winking light of hope peeking through. It was like the entire world changed colors as I read this book.
Lora
Even though I'm usually skeptical of sequels, I recall pouncing on this when I first saw it. I love how Potok brings greater depth to an already complex and lovable character. In many ways this book surpassed its predecessor for me. Asher Lev's return to NY brings new opportunities to heal old rifts. Ironically, as he finds the means within himself to narrow those gaps, he creates a new wound that ultimately renews everyone ... including himself. Gut-wrenching and beautiful.
Daniel Chaikin
I just finished this and a lot of the emotional impact happens near the end, and it's not a surprise, it's not a crazy plot twist or anything of that sort, it's just really well presented and moving on readers like me, and it makes looking that the book overall kind of immediately difficult.

Potok published this in 1990, about 18 years after My Name is Asher Lev and the story takes places 20 years after the former book, mainly in 1988. And it's possible he didn't he write anything comparable to
...more
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
I snagged a copy of this from the free books bin. (Even though I have a hardcover copy. Hey, it's nice to have a backup that isn't quite so heavy.) And upon re-reading it, the double meaning in the title finally clicked. Slight embarrassment!

Anyway, I wonder if anyone else who's seen this edition's cover thinks that Asher looks like Harrison Ford, and finds it to be odd.
Lysergius
Absolutely fascinating insight into the mind of the artist adrift within a small orthodox Jeqish community.
Merrilee Larson
Beautifully written; a book to savor. I first read, My Name is Asher Lev by the same author, and gave it 4 stars, but, I gave this book 5 stars. It captivated me. I learned about the world of art and artists and also about the close knit, dedicated, very spiritual Hasidic Jewish community. I recommend reading the books in order. I don't think you can fully appreciate the character of Asher Lev unless you read the first book. I especially enjoyed the way important people to Asher appear to him in ...more
Liz
20 years after My Name is Asher Lev, The Gift of Asher Lev begins. Following a disastrous art show, Asher's favorite uncle dies. He takes his family (wife, daughter, and son) from their home in Paris to his childhood home in Brooklyn. He comes face-to-face with his exile to Paris, his lack of artistic inspiration, his family ghosts, and what it means for him to be a Hasidic Jew. I think this might be better than the first book, if only for the fact that a lot of reconciliation and forgiveness pl ...more
Gary Hansen
I have been reading and re-reading Chaim Potok's novels since I was a teenager. I'm always drawn to his rich portrayal of Jewish life in its many different styles. Such a winsome contrast to the picture one gets through Christian stereotypes.

I recently re-read this second volume of the Asher Lev series. It is a strange and powerful portrayal of the power of one's people over one's individual self, even as one goes a way contrary to the ethos of the people. I love the way he portray's Asher Lev's
...more
Sue
Twenty years have past since the end of "My Name is Asher Lev". Asher is married with two children and is living in southern France. His paintings still invoke controversy and he has just finished a show which the critics say shows he's repeating himself. At this low point, he receives a call from his mother letting him know that his beloved Uncle Yitzchok has died. Asher, his wife and two children return to Brooklyn for what is supposed to just be the Week of Mourning. Instead, he stays for se ...more
Sarah
Sketches in oils went onto those sheets of paper until I saw the painting clearly and then put it on a huge canvas, Devorah watching in tense silence as I brought it to life, her astonished eyes telling me how much she disliked it; and my father showing up at the apartment during one of his trips through Europe for the Rebbe and staring in trembling anger and bewilderment at the finished painting, his face white, and saying, 'What have you done? He did not kill him,...This is what you will show ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Introspective without being apologetically funny: a dying art 3 24 Apr 04, 2012 08:16PM  
  • Thuggin In Miami (The Family Is Made : Part 1)
  • Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories
  • The Family Moskat
  • World of Our Fathers: The Journey of the East European Jews to America and the Life They Found and Made
  • Souls on Fire
  • As a Driven Leaf
  • Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return To His Jewish Family
  • The Outside World
  • Kaaterskill Falls
  • Wednesday the Rabbi Got Wet
  • Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels
  • The Joys of Yiddish
  • To Life: A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking
  • Inside, Outside
  • Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its Moods
  • Rashi's Daughters, Book II: Miriam: A Novel of Love and the Talmud in Medieval France
  • The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man
  • The Brothers Ashkenazi
7385
American author and rabbi. Herman Harold Potok was born in the Bronx to Jewish immigrants from Poland.

His parents, Benjamin Max (d. 1958) and Mollie (Friedman) Potok (d. 1985), gave him a Hebrew name, Chaim Tzvi. His Orthodox education taught him Talmud as well as secular studies.

He decided to become a writer as a teenager, after reading Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.
More about Chaim Potok...
The Chosen My Name Is Asher Lev The Promise Davita's Harp In the Beginning

Share This Book

“Art begins . . . when someone interprets, when someone sees the world through his own eyes. Art happens when what is seen becomes mixed with the inside of the person who is seeing it.” 44 likes
“Truth has to be given in riddles. People can't take truth if it comes charging at them like a bull. The bull is always killed. You have to give people the truth in a riddle, hide it so they go looking for it and find it piece by piece; that way they learn to live with it.” 39 likes
More quotes…