The Chosen

Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,754 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Though they've lived their entire lives less than five blocks from each other, Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders exist in very different worlds. Reuven blends easily into both his secular Jewish faith and his typical American teen life, while Danny's conservative Hasidic clothes and appearance make him stick out in any crowd. Their improbable friendship teaches them that the differences separating people through cultures and generations are never as great as they seem.
©1995 Chaim Potok (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Anyone who finds it is finding a jewel. Its themes are profound and universal." (The Wall Street Journal)

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What listeners say about The Chosen

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

truly rates overused "classic" label

This listen managed to combine my two favorite types of lit - realistic depiction of another period (especially its social history) and reflection on faith in a troubled world.

I listened to this shortly after the more contemporary "Foreskin's Lament" and "Disobedience" -- and although I enjoyed those two (each in their own way)-- oh, how I wish I had listened to this first!

In addition to a beautiful "coming of age" portrait of two young Americans in the WWII/post war era, what a compassionate depiction of Jewish faith coming to terms with modernism! As other reviews point out, the novel portrays universal truths while giving outsiders to the Jewish faith a glimpse of its richness and diversity in the story's specifics. There are enough symbolism and imagery to satisfy a reader/listener without the literary complexity that demands much effort to digest.

I thank the reviewer who named Potok's follow-up novel, but since that is not on Audible (yet), I think as a follow-up, I will re-listen to Doctorow's "City of God" and hope for a re-release of "The Promise."

50 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating story

This book provides a fascinating glimpse of Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish culture but is also a griping story about friendship between two boys as they grow to adulthood. And the narrator does a fantastic job, making it fascinating to listen to, more so than reading the book in print. I wish the sequel to this (The Promise) was also available in audio form by the same narrator but unfortunately it is not.

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Top notch book!

Chaim Potok is an excellent novelist. The book depicts two very different father/son relationships and explores a deep friendship between two young men. It provides an accurate glimpse of Orthodox and Hassidic Jewish life and provides perspective on Judaism in post WWII America.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Even Better The Second Time Around

I read this when I was young(er) in the 60's. I knew I thoroughly enjoyed it but could not remember why. It was fun going through the story again, discovering the fun parts! There are some parts of the story that drag on and certain situations are, well, I wonder about.

This is a story of two sons with two fathers. Although both are Jewish, their faiths take on very different lifestyles. The fathers, and how they are raising thier sons, are also very different. Reuven and his father are very close. In fact, their relationship seems too perfect. But that is besides the point. Danny and his father have a strained relationship, but it is still a positive one. How thse two boys meet and grow together as friends is a fascinating tale.

The narration is very well done. Davis differentiated between characters seamlessly and distinctly. He was a joy to listen to.

If you have never come across this classic, you will be ever so glad you found it. If this is not a new title, you will be thrilled to rediscover it!! Enjoy.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

How wonderful to revisit an old friend!

I first read The Chosen as a teenager. I loved it then. Listening to it now, 40 years later after raising children of my own, it had even more meaning to me. Jonathan Davis does a terrific job with the narration. The story of two Jewish boys in NYC at the close of WWII and the birth of the state of Israel is a compelling narrative of friendship, family and culture, with world politics woven in. The passage of time since the book was first published has only served to underscore its importance.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

"Must Read" for every parent

This story follows a delicate friendship of two Jewish lads, David & Ruven, their fathers and their different Jewish faiths (one Hassidic, the other not). There are few characters to keep up with but the last chapter is so moving, about understanding your children, not necessarily liking it, but loving them. I wish I would have read this years ago, perhaps my own angst with my children would not have been so dividing.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Religion with compassion and perspective

Would you listen to The Chosen again? Why?

I would listen again because this story was so much about being a real friend. The boys grown up in different backgrounds with similar religion but differing perspectives. I loved their sides and as they grew into men, how they changed and how they stayed the same.

Good friends are rare. They love us for the person we are and this story shows how two boys who have been separated through religious teachings have grown together and grown up.

Compassionate friendship with differences is what this book is about. I loved it!

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to other performances by Jonathan Davis but his voice is sweet and melodious. I really felt these characters more through his voice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I really tried to get back as soon as I could because I hated putting my player down! It was a great performance and I really enjoyed it.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A favorite from my adolescence

Enjoyed this again 40 years after I first read it. I can still see my dog eared paperback in my mind's eye. It was and is still an interesting read from a time, place and culture totally foreign to me. I found I had a lot more empathy for Danny's father this time around

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Such a rich, colorful book

I was blown away with this novel. This kind of story is not the usual kind of book that I like to read, but I remembered my mother loved this book, and when I saw it as a Daily Deal, I jumped on it. The detail in this book is second to none. The way that the author lets us into the Jewish culture and mindset was something that I did not expect. As a Christian, my belief system differs form that portrayed in this story, but that was irrelevant. I got so wrapped up in the intricacies and details in the telling of this tale. It was fantastic.

The characters in The Chosen were so beautifully developed! The two main characters, Danny and Reuven, I will be thinking about for a long time to come, I am sure. For them to come from backgrounds that are so similar, but at the same time so INCREDIBLY different! Just captivating. Great narrator, great author. Will listen again!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

GREAT BOOK! Entertaining and informative!

If you could sum up The Chosen in three words, what would they be?

LIFE, religion, personal-standards

Who was your favorite character and why?

I think my favorite character was the father of the main character. He combined reasoning with his religious beliefs, and he realized that one doesn't need to share your total set of beliefs and morals to be a good person and a personal asset.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Davis – was your favorite?

I don't know about my least favorite. There are aspects of the Hasidic Rabbi that I hated, but the performance did not suffer, and the character overall – as presented by Chaim Potok – was a good man. I personally don't have to like every aspect of him to understand where the character's coming from, whether or not I agree with you. I don't know that I had a least favorite…

Any additional comments?

As a JEWISH girl from a very nonreligious background, I found the descriptions and developments of Judaism overall and two main characters, both of whom will were Jewish, but neither of whom had backgrounds that I had any contact or familiarity with, educational, instructed, and entertaining. I loved the book: it did give me a more well-rounded familiarity with my religion and with different levels of beliefs. The book itself was fun, it wasn't just an "informational manual" or anything like that. Well done book!

3 people found this helpful