Old Men at Midnight

Old Men at Midnight

Book - 2001
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From the celebrated author ofThe ChosenandMy Name Is Asher Lev, a trilogy of related novellas about a woman whose life touches three very different men--stories that encompass some of the profoundest themes of the twentieth century. Ilana Davita Dinn is the listener to whom three men relate their lives. As a young girl, she offers English lessons to a teenage survivor of the camps. In "The Ark Builder," he shares with her the story of his friendship with a proud old builder of synagogue arks, and what happened when the German army invaded their Polish town. As a graduate student, she finds herself escorting a guest lecturer from the Soviet Union, and in "The War Doctor," her sympathy moves him to put his painful past to paper recounting his experiences as a Soviet NKVD agent who was saved by an idealistic doctor during the Russian civil war, only to encounter him again during the terrifying period of the Kremlin doctors' plot. And, finally, we meet her in "The Trope Teacher," in which a distinguished professor of military history, trying to write his memoirs, is distracted by his wife's illness and by the arrival next door of a new neighbor, the famous writer I. D. (Ilana Davita) Chandal. Poignant and profound, Chaim Potok's newest fiction is a major addition to his remarkable--and remarkably loved--body of work. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Knopf : Random House, 2001
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780375410710
Characteristics: 273 p. ; 23 cm


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Jul 02, 2013

Ilana Davita Chandal is back! This might, technically, be called a sequel to Davita’s Harp. Three times we catch a brief glimpse of her as a different Jewish man encounters her and tells her part of his life story. The stories—Poland just as the Germans arrive, Soviet Russia, and the liberation of the concentration camps—are excellent Potok, as always. Disturbing, but the time they paint was also disturbing. Happy as I am to see Davita back again, I found it to be a distraction in all but the last story. Better to have a nameless woman to awaken the first two men’s muses. It’s as awkward as when Reuven from The Chosen pops up near the end of Davita’s Harp. Other than that, a good read.

elaine1960 May 17, 2011

Very well written and thought-provoking. My husband read it, too and we had some very interesting discussions re: this book. Will read more by this author.

Jul 22, 2010

While this book is on my top ten favourite reads of all time, it is not in the top ten. I've marked this book because one of the stories within it is a sequel to my absolute favourite book (well it's an equal first really) Davita's Harp which is not on this catalogue (massive oversight btw yprl). I cannot recommend that book highly enough, forget The Promise and The Chosen Davita's Harp is the pinnacle of Potok's career.


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