Books: Illuminations

THE BOOK OF LIGHTS by Chaim Potok Knopf; 370 pages; $13.50

Albert Einstein ponders the young rabbi's last name: "Loran. That is, I believe, also the name of a navigational instrument, is it not?" As usual, the physicist is correct: the acronym for long-range navigation also describes the hero of Chaim Potok's fifth and most ambitious novel. Although the author has retained a strong narrative drive, he has abandoned the matzo-barrel homilies that marked such early works as The Chosen and The Promise. Once again his themes are ethnic, but his concerns are...

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