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Written by Ankita R
The main character and narrator of the novel. He is born into a Hassidic Jewish family and has a troubled childhood as his mother wrestles with her own problems. He channels this discourse into his art and becomes immensely talented, much to his father's dismay. This conflict with his father forces him to seek refuge in the art community and he grows up with Jacob Kahn's guidence. He is visited by his mystic ancestor every time a major shift happens in his life. As he ages, he becomes more pensive and reflects on who he is and what his art represents.
Kindly but tough, he is the artist who helps teach Asher about what it means to make art. He lost his religion and cut off his payos to assimilate and commit to one way of life. His anger scares Asher sometimes but he is ultimately a second father figure to him. Oftentimes, he is sad over work that he lost long ago, but finds pride in Asher. His rudeness more often than not teaches a moral lesson.
Asher's father. He disapproves of Asher's work, mainly because he does a lot of work getting emmegrants out of Russia. He is well-liked and respected by his community, which is a possible cause of his high morals and religious affinity. This divide between him and Asher eventually drives them apart as Asher always seeks Aryeh's approval and he never recieves it.
Asher's mother. Even as she suffers from her brother's death, she still manages to be supportive of Asher's art from day one. She takes care of him and rarely disobeys her husband Aryeh. Her kindness encourages Asher's art career and helps him focus on what is really important in life.
Asher's uncle. He is kind but doesn't understand art. He offers to buy Asher's paintings offhandidly and lets Asher convert his attic into an art studio while he stays with him.
Aryeh helped rescue him from Siberia and brought him to America. He is a Ladover Jew and runs a stationary store which sells art supplies. While he encourgages Asher's art, he also belittles him for not respecting his father.
He is the religious head at Asher's school. He connects him with Jacob Kahn and encourages Asher's art career.
He is Asher's uncle who died when Asher was six. His death sends Rivkeh into a tailspin. It takes her a while to get over the close bond they apparently shared. He serves as inspiration for travelling and good works that Rivkeh later preforms.
She is sort of the "maid" around the Lev household. She takes care of Asher and has a deep respect for his parents and religion. Asher and her oftentimes clash.
She buys and sells paintings from Jacob Kahn and, later, Asher himself. She juxtaposes objects and people to create shocking and paying-out effects.
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