Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Excerpt, Davita's Harp

I found out about Davita's Harp, by Chaim Potok, on someone's blog page of suggested reading, and I immediately went to the library and checked out a copy. I wish I could remember who to thank for this delightful read. It is not something I ever would have considered reading had it not been suggested, as the subject matter is a bit heavy and somewhat unknown territory for me: Judaism, Communism, Fascism, etc. The novel evolves around a young girl (around the time of WWII) named Ilana Davita Chandal, and the interesting characters that come into and out of her life. It also focuses on her religious experiences, choices, and losses. It is far more worthwhile than I can find words to describe. We are given lovely tales that are woven together with the texture of sounds (the door harp) and sensations (the sea, the wind). It is about personal freedom and the changes made within us when we are confronted with violence, ignorance, anger, differences of opinion, and the rigidity of tradition.

A memorable quote in the book:
Walls are laws to some people, and laws are walls to others.

I have chosen this one excerpt to share:

Was he afraid he would lose control over our thinking? Why did he need to control the way we thought? Did he believe that God wrote stories with only one kind of meaning? It seemed to me that a story that had only one kind of meaning was not very interesting or worth remembering for too long.

The harp sounded muted that evening as I came into my room and sat down at my desk to my homework. I looked at it, wondering if something was wrong with its strings. Across the hallway from me David softly sang his talmudic music. In the living room my parents were listening to a symphony on the phonograph. Outside an icy wind moaned in the trees, rustling bare branches in a sad music of its own.



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