Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tugging at Harp Strings

Unlike the other Potok novels I read, Davita's Harp features a female protagonist, Ilana Davita, who is raised by her Gentile father and Jewish mother, both of whom are part of the Communist Party in the 1930s in New York.  As Davita grows into her own young adulthood, she becomes interested in her parents' pasts, as well as the religions that shaped them.  Ilana Davita's life is shaped by her parents' good friend Jakob Daw and the stories he tells her, her father's fierce love and laughter, and her mother's dedication to helping people.  Davita eventually forges her own path as she chooses to go to a yeshiva, only to discover that there are limitations to what she can achieve there, and is forced to make a difficult choice about how to move forward with her education.  I enjoyed this novel, but it was not as taut and climactic as some of Potok's more famous works. 

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