The Gift of Asher Lev
Synopsis: from the dust jacket
Asher Lev is the devout Ladover Hasid who, against powerful odds, has become a painter of international renown. He has learned to live with the dichotomy between his beliefs and his work making his home for twenty years in France, far from the insular Brooklyn community where he was raised, and where he is still considered "inexplicably aberrant." But when a beloved uncle dies, he must, along with his wife and two children, make the journey back.
Lev feels "something odd happening in Brooklyn. . .a vague sense of myself being reeled in, " and almost immediately he comes face to face with the disdain and animosity his work arouses among the Ladover, and the difficulties it causes his family. Painfully, against his will, he is plunged back into the conflict--between the culture he was born into and the culture he has forged for himself--that compelled his exile two decades before. And although he is determined to remain in America only for the prescribed week of mourning, a series of startling events threatens to prolong his stay indefinitely and force him, once again, to choose between the sacred and the worldly. As the novel unfolds, moving toward its dramatic, deeply affecting conclusion, we watch as Asher Lev comes to grasp the true nature of the decision he must make: a decision that will affect not only his own life but also the entire Ladover community, the sanctity of his family, and most importantly --most profoundly--the fate of his own young son.
See also: The lengthy preview of The Gates of November in the section on references.