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Chapter 12

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Asher notices that his parents have developed a collection of shared memories and experiences of which he is not a part. The years living away from each other have produced a remarkable distance. Asher's father was highly successful in Europe and has become one of the most powerful and well-respected men in the Ladover community. As Asher sees it, this has given him the self-confidence not to be threatened by Asher's artwork. Asher's word no longer enrages him.

Rivkeh asks Asher if there will be nudes in his next show—if so, his father will not come. She talks to him about a young girl they are looking at for him to marry. Asher just laughs, as he is not even close to ready for that. A few months later, Rivkeh again asks Asher if there will be nudes at his show and Asher replies again that he does not know.

Aryeh asks Asher about the Russian and French he has been learning. Asher tells him that it has been useful because many interesting art books have been written in French or Russian. Aryeh does not like this response. He asks Asher whether he will be able to join his parents in the Berkshires that summer. Asher responds that he will need to paint, since he will be having a show the following January.

Aryeh tries to talk to Asher about Art. Asher tries to explain that he paints his feelings. Aryeh says that sometimes, feelings should be concealed. Asher talks to Jacob about his father. Jacob tells him that his father simply cannot understand art, so he should not continually allow it to frustrate him. Many great men, he says, do not have an aesthetic sense.

Asher and Jacob go to Chicago to see a Matisse exhibit. When Asher returns, his father is upset that he did not tell him he was going to Chicago, as he might have wanted Asher to deliver something for him. On subsequent trips, Asher's father gives him letters, which are collected from him by people who meet him as he steps off his flight.

Asher tells his mother he will be in Provincetown for the summer and she asks if he can spend two weeks in the Berkshires. Asher asks whether his father will let him paint, since he needs all of his time for painting. Asher spends the entire summer in Provincetown and comes back without payos. His father seems relieved that he still has his beard and wears his ritual fringes. Rivkeh asks about the nudes again and Asher says that he might have to include them in the show.

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