by Rauan Klassnik
From now on, let’s say, I’m only going to acquire my books at Garage Sales. And then I’m going to write about them. This, then, is the first in a series I’m super psyched about. And I think I’m going to use this opportunity, also, to get serious and personal. Well, kind of,….
Okay, so a few days ago I bought Chaim Potok’s “The Chosen” at a yard sale close to my house. (Lately, on weekends, I’ve been trolling the neighborhoods because my wife collects teapots and it’s romantic to bring her home something nice. Last week I found a teapot it turns out was made in 1906. It’s worth about $20. Sometimes my wife, Edith, and I go hunting together and that, maybe, is the best).
When I asked the old man standing behind the table with just six books spread over it how much he wanted for “The Chosen” he took a few moments and then replied, “I dunno, how about two bucks?” I quickly countered with a shrug. And then: “how about a dollar?” And the book was mine! (note: this is how “the game” works at Garage Sales. Plus, I’m Jewish. Well, I was born into a Jewish family. I still identify, culturally. Blah. Blah. It’s complicated.)
The book is about fathers and sons. About duty. Forgiveness. Friendship. War. Inheritance. And respect. I mean I’m only about a quarter of the way into it but this is what I think it’s about. . . . And, o, yeah, it seems to be about religion and patriotism too. . . .And it’s made me think, more than usual, of my own life!
Of my childhood. Of my upbringing. Maybe this is because the narrator’s name is Reuven. My Hebrew name is Reuven too. The book (The Chosen) was published in 1967. I was born, also, in 1967, in Johannesburg, South Africa, where, several years later, I attended King David Victory Park. And there, as a matter of course, the essential importance of Judaism as well as Israel was strongly impressed upon me and the rest of the young students. Continue reading