Acquired via BookCrossing 14 Aug 2010 – from Bridget

Sequel to The Chosen, and because I had it, I had to read it right away.  I might not have enjoyed it completely as much as the first volume, but that’s not to say it wasn’t good.  Danny and Reuven are growing in their respective paths, and the choices they have to make, as well as the promises they’ve made to themselves, their fathers, and their faiths, are thrown into sharp relief by their involvement with the Gordon family; Abraham, who writes on Judaism from a more liberal viewpoint and is reviled for it in the post-Holocaust retrenchment into more extreme forms of the religion which is happening at the time, and particularly Michael, his conflicted son.  I learnt a lot about Jewish scholarship, and the textual work described is fascinating – and I loved the way it brought stability, pride and conflict into Reuven’s life.  His relationship with his father was beautifully drawn, and something I will remember for a long time.  You wouldn’t think that the minute details of someone studying to become a rabbi would be such compelling reading, but I found myself drawn into the quiet drama, as the time of reckoning drew nearer and nearer.

The resolution of the plots was satsifying, with more left for the future.  Perhaps the work in the psychiatric hospital would have been more shocking to the contemporary audience; I found this the slightly less interesting part.  But I’d love to know what happened next to Danny, Michael, and particularly Reuven.

I’m very glad I read these two amazing books, which I would not have come across, probably without BookCrossing, and certainly without the friendships I’ve made through BookCrossing!