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Day After Night: A Novel Hardcover – September 8, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 249 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Diamant's bestseller, The Red Tent, explored the lives of biblical women ignored by the male-centric narrative. In her compulsively readable latest, she sketches the intertwined fates of several young women refugees at Atlit, a British-run internment camp set up in Palestine after WWII. There's Tedi, a Dutch girl who hid in a barn for years before being turned in and narrowly escaping Bergen-Belsen; Leonie, a beautiful French girl whose wartime years in Paris are cloaked with shame; Shayndel, a heroine of the Polish partisan movement whose cheerful facade hides a tortured soul; and Zorah, a concentration camp survivor who is filled with an understandable nihilism. The dynamic of suffering and renewed hope through friendship is the book's primary draw, but an eventual escape attempt adds a dash of suspense to the astutely imagined story of life at the camp: the wary relationship between the Palestinian Jews and the survivors, the intense flirtation between the young people that marks a return to life. Diamant opens a window into a time of sadness, confusion and optimism that has resonance for so much that's both triumphant and troubling in modern Jewish history. (Sept.)
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About the Author

Anita Diamant is the bestselling author of the novels The Red Tent, Good Harbor,  and The Last Days of Dogtown, as well as the collection of essays, Pitching My Tent. An award-winning journalist whose work has appeared regularly in The Boston Globe Magazine and Parenting, she is the author of six nonfiction guides to contemporary Jewish life. She lives in Massachusetts. Her most recent novel is Day After Night. Visit her website at www.anitadiamant.com.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743299841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743299848
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (249 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #687,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

In my first novel, The Red Tent, I re-imagined the culture of biblical women as close, sustaining, and strong, but I am not the least bit nostalgic for that world without antibiotics, or birth control, or the printed page. Women were restricted and vulnerable in body, mind, and spirit, a condition that persists wherever women are not permitted to read.

When I was a child, the public library on Osborne Terrace in Newark, New Jersey, was one of the first places I was allowed to walk to all by myself. I went every week, and I can still draw a map of the children's room, up a flight of stairs,where the Louisa May Alcott books were arranged to the left as you entered.
Nonfiction, near the middle of the room, was loaded with biographies. I read several about Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, and Helen Keller, with whom I share a birthday.

But by the time I was 11, the children's library was starting to feel confining,so I snuck downstairs to the adult stacks for a copy of The Good Earth. (I had overheard a grown-up conversation about the book and it sounded interesting.)The librarian at the desk glanced at the title and said I wasn't old enough for the novel and furthermore my card only entitled me to take out children's books.

I defended my choice. I said my parents had given me permission, which was only half a fib since my mother and father had never denied me any book. Eventually,the librarian relented and I walked home, triumphant. I had access to the BIG LIBRARY. My world would never be the same.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have spent much of 2009 reading excellent novels that relate different perspectives of the horror that was WW II and the effects of the Holocaust on people from different countries. In Sarah's Key, I read what happened at the Vélodrome d'Hiver in France, in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Random House Reader's Circle), I discovered what happened during the war on an island I'd never heard of, in Skeletons at the Feast: A Novel, I accompanied a family fleeing westward ahead of the advancing Russians, in Those Who Save Us, I read what desperate men and women did in occupied Germany. This novel is another wonderful testament to the strength of the human spirit in the face of unspeakable guilt -- the guilt of being a survivor of the ravages of the Nazis and the Final Solution.

This story takes place in Atlit -- the internment camp south of Hafia, Israel, after the war is over when thousands of Jews escaped Europe for their promised land, only to be imprisoned and held by the British military instead of being allowed to join the kibbutzes established there. Four remarkable young women from different backgrounds meet there and attempt to adjust to life and to deal with the consequences of what they did to survive the fates that claimed the lives of their friends and families.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The year is 1945. European Jews are evacuating their former homelands and heading for the British Mandate of Palestine by foot, by leaky boats, by any way they can find. The British stand at the borders, ready to turn them back. Not to be denied, the "illegal" immigrants find ways around the blockaded roads or have to be rescued from floundering boats. For those caught or rescued, the Atlit detention camp becomes their new home.

Anita Diamant examines these double survivors in her new book, Day After Night. She focuses on four women, each from a different country, a different situation, but all intensely avoiding the memories of the past years. The life of the camp and the interactions of the immigrants make a compelling story interwoven with the pasts and the futures of these people determined to make a new life in a land that welcomes them.

The tale is straightforward, never melodramatic, and finally satisfying as the survivors struggle to find their way to safety. This is a story set in the distant past but universal in its humanity and a story that can not be told too often.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The dimensions of this treatment of the experiences, range of emotions, and attitudes of characters provides an exceptionally vivid, painful, and enlightening image. Characters all survived the Holocaust in different fashions, and the scope of memories is wide - attitudes not being bitter towards the Nazis alone, to put it cryptically. This is not a 'good guy, bad guy' treatment of the war years - one can see the understandable attitudes towards those of various nations. Nor is the British camp glorified, to put it mildly, for women devastated by horror in the recent past.

The author's style is superb at its best - vivid, with a striking use of language, ranging from beautifully evocative to appropriately gritty and crude. It is not sustained throughout. At times, the characters seem more like 'types' than individuals, and some of the sections do become tedious.

Nonetheless, this gripping book provides history beyond what we learnt in most texts or scholarly works. Thankfully, characters' recollections are not sanitised by political correctness - one can see the experiences of (mostly dead) family members and related comments, as well as the extent of anti Semitism beyond that of a raving German chancellor and his associates. One cannot come away from this book without a broadening of perspective, and widened understanding of the many influences that affected Israel's coming into being as a State.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Anita Diamant's Day After Night focuses on four women of different backgrounds in the aftermath of WWII. They are classified as displaced by the British and are housed with hundreds in a camp in Palestine waiting for permission to immigrate to the *new* Israel. Although life at Camp Atlit is relatively safe and clean, the mobility restrictions, barbed wire, and guards are eerie reminders of Nazi concentration camps. The women become friends despite disparate backgrounds: one is a concentration camp survivor, a resistance fighter, a tainted beauty, and an unassuming (blonde, blue-eyed) Jewess. Their back stories were revealed via flashbacks as they passed their time waiting for news and reflecting on their journey thus far; and it is through these memories we learn of their trials, tribulations, and hopes. While their treks were interesting enough, I would have appreciated a deeper dive into their lives.

I consider myself a fan of the author and was eagerly awaiting this release. However, I'm disappointed to write that this novel simply did not resonate with me as much as The Red Tent and The Last Days of Dogtown. The writing was sense of place was marginally accomplished -- although I like that it was a slice of history revisited, the book fell short for me in its failure to endear me to the women and move the plot along as it seemed elongated and meandering at times.
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