Home > Bookish Things > The Promise by Chaim Potok

The Promise by Chaim Potok

Fiction: Paperback from Ballantine Publishing Group (A division of Random House). Copyright 1969. 369 pages. On loan from the Cascade Branch of the Kent District Library.

This is a continuation of the story of Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders that began in the book The Chosen. It was neat to hear more of their story, and to delve further into the persona of some of the characters. I don’t think this book is quite as good as the first. But, I’m still glad I read it.

As an aside: Have you ever read a book, then looked at the book description on the cover and wondered if the person who wrote it actually read the book? Sometimes it makes me wonder if I’ve completely misunderstood what I just read. I’m not saying that the following publisher’s summary is clueless as to the story line. I’m just not sure I agree with the motivations that they attribute to Reuven. At least they are not necessarily the ones that I came up with on my own.

Publisher’s summary:
For young Reuven Malter, it is a time of testing. With his teachers, he struggles for recognition of his boldly radical methods of scholarship. With his old friend Danny Saunders — who himself had abandoned his legacy as the chosen heir to his father’s rabbinical dynasty for the uncertain life of a healer — he battles to save a sensitive boy imprisoned by his genius and rage, defeated by the same forces of unyielding past that challenge Reuven. Painfully and, at last, triumphantly, Rueven grows into a guardian of the ancient, sacred promise to his people, while earning his hard-fought right to make his own beginning.

Online book shopping:
Powell’s: The Promise
amazon.co.uk: The Promise
amazon.com: The Promise
Audible.com: Sorry, not available as audio.

Categories: Bookish Things
  1. Tuesday, 11 April 2006 at 6:45 pm

    I am a huge fan of pretty much everything Potok wrote. I highly recommend that you make time for both of the Asher Lev novels (“My Name is Asher Lev,” “The Gift of Asher Lev”) as well as “Davita’s Harp” and “In the Beginning.” I also started with “The Chosen” just a couple of years ago, and now I’ve read nine of his books!

    I concur that “Promise” is not quite as good as “Chosen,” but it’s still very good. I think you’d like the others that I mentioned.

  2. Tuesday, 11 April 2006 at 8:04 pm

    Thank you, Matt. I had seen the Asher Lev novels mentioned and wondered if I should look for them too.

    Potok seems like a pretty incredible writer. I’m looking forward to reading more of his works. Thanks again for the recommendations.

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