In the Beginning

Chaim Potok

In the Beginning

In the Beginning

  • Title: In the Beginning
  • Author: Chaim Potok
  • ISBN: 9780449001134
  • Page: 221
  • Format: Paperback

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David Lurie learns that all beginnings are hard He must fight for his place against the bullies in his Depression shadowed Bronx neighborhood and his own frail health As a young man, he must start anew and define his own path of personal belief that diverges sharply with his devout father and everything he has been taught

Recent Comments "In the Beginning"

Potok’s coming-of-age books are always so cerebral and inspiring. The protagonists are always truly analytical types: totally focused, with searing intellectualism. The characters have such dedication and depth. This story spans two continents and many centuries, and the small, localized hatreds suffered by a young Jewish boy in 1930s NYC are no less real than the grand scale hatreds suffered by his people through the ages.

A superbly written story of a exceptionally intelligent young Jewish boy, David, his family, and their struggle to establish their lives in the United States, and to aid other Jewish families who wish to leave Poland and settle in New York. The family thrives in the US in the prosperous 1920's, though the school-age David is bullied by anti-Semitic local boys, and he is haunted by whispered secrets of his father's past as a militant activist among Jews in the "old country." We follow this family [...]

Wonderful writing, at times a stream of semi-consciousness or dreaming.

I love Chaim Potok and this isn't my favorite novel by him but it takes us into the life of a young boy growing up in New York. His mother had been married to a man named David but he died. She married David's brother and had two boys, David and Alex. David is sickly and studious while Alex is strong and a bit wild. David loves the Torah and his Jewish culture. He excels at school but lives in 1930, a time filled with anti-semitism. His father is a leader of the Jewish community who fled with hi [...]

"All beginnings are hard" Potok had a gift for communicating the significance of familial and cultural relationships. Seemingly normal interactions have life-long consequences for his characters. You feel the pain of a mocking look or a bigoted sneer. You bond with the warmth of the common American sidewalk. A mother's song, a father's beard. Potok never puts you through too much emotional strain without giving you enough hope and courage to get to the next chapter.

I don't know how to rate this book. I thought it was brilliant but I really don't know that I like a style of writing that has 100 pages of a little kid riding a tricycle between illnesses and lamenting the evils of antisemitism in his own childish way. It portrayed brilliantly many Jewish issues and was cleverly crafted to weave them into the everyday details of the "normal" life of a completely abnormal family. The heartrending foreknowledge that their family in Poland was going to be destroye [...]

uno dei migliori romanzi di Potok, considerato come romanzo di formazione lo trovo ottimo. E questa è la sua formazione

Young David Lurie s life is dominated by accidents in which he is both an unwitting participant and helpless victim. When bringing him home from the hospital, him mother tripped on the front steps to their apartment and fell, with the infant David in her arms; the left side of his face and his nose hit the pavement. A doctor s examination showed nothing wrong, but unseen was damage to the nasal septum; as a result of this accident, David spent his childhood constantly ill, and grew up fragile. T [...]

In The Beginning is quite different in style than Potok’s earlier novels. The story is told through -somewhat non-sequential flashbacks. We see a lot of David as a young boy, but then it moves quickly through his adolescent years. He is brilliant, bookish, and intellectually rebellious—though in a quiet and confident way. It shifts back and forth from great narrative and descriptive detail to more emotional impressions. It is a lot in David’s head – sometimes when he sick with fever or l [...]

It was ok, but not great.The Chosen was a much better book.I felt bogged down a lot of the time by lengthy descriptions of everything the Am Kedoshim society said and did, and I didn't understand much of it, as I'm not Jewish. I felt as though it did nothing to move the plot along.I also fee that many of the characters were rather flat and static. Even though they all grow up over the course of the story, I feel that their essential personalities don't really change all that much. I suppose Davi [...]

Stunning, as Potok always is, though more slowly paced and deliberate than others that I've read. The final pages resonate deeply with current issues in Mormonism regarding history, truth, and faith.At the risk of draining the power of this quote without the context of the 430 pages preceding it, here is one of my favorite moments: "I am not bothered by questions of truth. I want to know if the religious world view has any meaning today. Bring yourself back an answer to that, Lurie. Take apart t [...]

I love Potok's writing. I felt that I missed something in this book, and the story did not propel me forward in the way his other books I've read did. Towards the end, the plot becomes very involved in Jewish scholarship of the Torah and Talmud, to the point that as a non-Jewish reader I felt that I was surely missing a little of what was going on. David Lurie is a sickly boy who reads all the time and is constantly troubled by exactly WHY goyim seem to hate Jews so much. His studies as he grows [...]

I didn't enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed 'Asher Lev'. Another novel about a sickly young boy growing up in New York,in an orthodox Jewish community. Overall, haunted by history, haunted by the past.

This was wonderful - I am starting to think that everything Chaim Potok writes is magically beautiful.

This is my second reading of this book. I read it a few years ago. I am currently reading it for a book club.

In the Beginning by Chaim Potok This historical novel takes place in 1930’s Bronx, New York. It is a story of a young Jewish boy, David Lurie, and his parents along with a whole Jewish society. David Lurie is the narrator throughout the entirety of this historical novel. I found this book by chance in my school’s library to get credit for an assignment. The novel starts with David Lurie who has “hard beginnings” in life because of a variety of religious persecutions in his local neighbor [...]

I don't understand. I love /The Chosen/. I really liked /The Promise/. It's been ages since I read /Asher Lev/ but I'm pretty sure I liked that one too. From the beginning (ha) in this book, I was about bored to tears and the boredom hardly every let up. In /theory/ this book should have a lot going for it--David's parents and their predicament was technically quite fascinating, the moments of depression in various characters were realistically drawn, and the whole idea of him (view spoiler)[mov [...]

Fascinating look at the Depression and beginnings of WWII as a young Jewish boy. Parallels abound between Europe's war and his life. I learned a lot about the Torah and its interpretations by other Jewish scholars. Interestingly, some of the Jewish people in this have a similar xenphobia that anti-Semites themselves had, which is a profound statement on humans in general: we all have fears and anger, but we must look past these to embrace the fact that we are all still people who deserve life, l [...]

3.75 stars. A very powerful ending to a good novel. Having recently read Potok's "The Promise" the themes in here are very similar: how to honor the past of Judaism while looking at it's future. Potok excels at putting you through the experiences of his protagonists--and real history--in a way that leaves one feeling bruised.

Beautifully written. I hardly noticed that anything was happening but suddenly everything was different and I felt like I knew the characters intimately. A different angle on being Jewish during WWII, and interesting to watch David grow into his own person.

I couldn't get through it. I like Chaim Potok, but this book was simply too dry and slow. There did not seem to be much of a plot. I'm marking it as read and that I finished it today, but today is just the day I've decided I'm done trying to force my way through it.

This was pretty slow reading. Not sure it was up to the level of his other books.

Another masterpiece. I love his writing. Some of the best I have read each year

Chaim Potok never disappoints Just like The Chosen, this book is an intricate detailed account of the daily life and emotions of a young Jewish boy. I enjoyed this thoroughly!

Really great! Made me think about Biblical Criticism.

It took me a while to get into this book, but I ended up loving the way Potok shifted the perspective over the course of the story. The ending made me cry because it rang so true.

This wasn't nearly as good as The Chosen or My Name is Asher Lev, but this was pretty good. It was bulky at times though, and could've used an editor. It really gives you a sense of how it felt to be an Orthodox Jew in the 1920's and 30's. One thing I was really able to relate to was the end where it spoke about the yeshiva he was in and Rav Scharfman. He describes a yeshiva that I currently attend and that Potok himself attends, Yeshiva University. It was really cool how YU is portrayed in the [...]

Potok seems to take a long time to get to the end of this book; some judicious cutting would have helped, I think, but he weaves and connects themes and images constantly throughout the story, and perhaps without the space to do so the book wouldn't have been so effective. It's a pretty gloomy piece: the Jewish narrator, Daniel, is injured in a fall as a baby and damages something in his nasal area, meaning that he is prone to illnesses throughout his childhood. The operation to cure this only h [...]


Chaim Potok is one of my favorite writers. We had to read the Chosen when I was a sophomore in college and I was really struck by him then. I went on to read the Promise and then My Name is Asher Lev. This year I went back to him and re-read those three and this morning I finished his fourth novel: In The Beginning. His novels deal with racism, religion, family relationships, and the modern age. In the beginning is a professor David Lurie telling the story of his beginning, growing up in Brookly [...]

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    Published :2018-07-08T14:17:46+00:00