Monday, May 09, 2005

Picked up earlier this afternoon

a used paperback copy of a particular favorite novel of mine, Chaim Potok's The Promise; just finished rereading it, it is the most wonderful and ethically powerful novel you will ever read. Very, very good stuff. One of the more amazing episodes of my life at Columbia has been getting to know a very distinguished Talmud scholar and Holocaust survivor who lives in my building and among other things realizing that he is one of the models for Reuven Malter's father in these books (he's cited in the acknowledgments). This man's memoir is an outrageously compelling book, one of the more striking things I've read: The Book and the Sword: A Life of Learning in the Shadow of Destruction, by David Weiss Halivni. Aside from its other merits, it offers a kind of counter to Primo Levi's despair.