Before we begin today, I am super excited to share the next two books we will read:
In September we will read: Cracking Up: A Postpartum Faith Crisis by Kimberlee Conway Ireton. AND for the first time ever the author is going to participate! One of the weeks we will have an “ask the author” and get to hear directly from her! And do not let the word “postpartum” make you think this is just for moms, Kimberlee’s context may be motherhood, but her subject is life and faith. When I loved it I had my mom read it, and sure enough, she loved it too. So, whether you’re in the throws of active mothering, we know you’re in the throws of life and this book speaks directly to us.
In honor of kicking off this book club for the fall FIVE copies of this book will be given away to FIVE of YOU! Just leave a comment to on this post and on Friday we’ll announce the winners in The Grove. Kimberlee has also volunteered to sign copies if you want one mailed to a U.S. address!
During October and November we will read An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor — it ties in with several of the themes we will explore this fall. If you haven’t read any of Taylor’s books, you’re in for a treat. And if you have, they can be read again and again!
But today, we get to dive head in to Asher Lev!
Were you cringing as Asher’s parents walked through the art gallery knowing what was before them? I know I did. In the first post for My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok I wrote, “There is a quote from Picasso at the beginning of the book: Art is a lie which makes us realize the truth. We’ll also return to this as we near the end of book. Keep it in mind as you read.”
How does this quote apply to The Brooklyn Crucifixion? I have ideas, but I’d love to hear yours and talk about it. What did you think of the paintings? Was there another way for Asher to convey the same feeling for his mom without using something so offense to Jews?
We know Chaim Potok was also a gifted artist as a child and wanted to be a painter as an adult and as it did with Asher Lev, it caused conflict with his father. Unlike Asher, Potok followed the urging of his family and pursued academics, only painting in his free time as an adult. He said that of all his characters, he related to Asher Lev the most. This isn’t the only way he related to Asher.
Just as Asher paid a high price for painting Brooklyn Crucifixion, so did Chaim Potok. In an interview at SPU he said:
It was not received well at all. The echoes of it continue to this day. I paid a high price for that book. But that’s the job of a writer. You pay the price, but you have to be honest. If you’re not, no one’s going to pay any attention to you. And I made that decision when I was 16, 17 years old: that I would do it to the best of my ability. And I’ve been paying the price ever since. I mean I’ve paid other prices since the Asher Lev book, but that was a particularly steep price.
I think we can relate to paying a price for something we have been called to do. What have some of the smaller, unexpected costs of your calling been?
Because this book follows characters over a number of years, we see them develop. For example, as Asher grew, the tension he experienced between art and faith moved from the external to a profound internal wrestling. How did you see Asher, Rivkeh (Mom), Aryeh (Father), his uncle, Yudel Krinsky, and the Rebbe develop? What helped form each of them?
Though Beyond the Beautiful Forevers looked more like my external life, My Name is Asher Lev looks more like my internal life. I’ve enjoyed reading it with you!
Do you think it’s OK for one religion to borrow from another? How do you see your local friends adapting some of their local customs into Christianity in a way that is releasing its God given true nature without combine and confusing Christianity with false religions.
There’s lots to comment on here and win one of the FIVE copies of Cracking Up!
Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site.