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The Fifth Son: A novel Paperback – April 7, 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A work of passion and intelligence.”
Chicago Tribune Book World
 
“Powerful [and] emotional.”
Newsday
 
“A voice that is humanist and universal even as it is Jewish-minded and special . . . The author makes all of us ‘children’ of that generation.”
The New York Times

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken; Trade Paperback Edition edition (April 7, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805210830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805210835
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By RCM VINE VOICE on October 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
As a Jew who survived the horrors of the Holocaust and life in a concentration camp, Elie Wiesel continuosly weaves these circumstances into his writings. In his works, he struggles to answer nearly impossible questions: why was it the fate of the Jews to die and why did they seem to accept that fate without a fight? "The Fifth Son" is a philosophical testament that seeks the answers to those questions, but also imaginatively examines the bond between father and son.

As usual with Wiesel's novels, the reader is transported from the present to the past numerous times. We meet Rueven Tamiroff, a librarian in New York, a Jew who survived the Holocaust, and a father who cannot communicate with his unnamed son. His son desperately searches for the keys to his father's behavior, searching out stories of his past through every possible means. When he finally uncovers the truth about his father's past that is destroying his present reality, the son becomes obsessed with setting the record straight. The son's travels take him back to Germany and into the darkest recesses of encroaching madness. Wiesel's characters are vividly written, intelligent and fragile creatures.

Wiesel takes his readers on a philosophical tour of Nazi torture and the revenge that assauged those Jews who survived WWII, as well as the guilt they felt for surviving when so many others did not. He speaks eloquently of the displacement of Jews who moved to America, as well as the anger of the younger German generation who are blamed for the sins of the older generation. The questions he raises are hard to answer; mainly because answers are yet to be found that would satisfy Wiesel.
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By A Customer on April 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Wiesel writes with the voice of a poet in this complex novel. It is told from the point of view of a Jewish young man who is trying desperately to understand his father, a Holocaust survivor. The young man, who is never named, wants to know everything he can about his father's experiences, and he slowly begins to gain information through his father's friends and through the letters he discovers, written by his father to his son Ariel. The book begins in a sequence that is confusing in the manner of a poem; it eventually becomes clearer as the themes of the book are developed. The young man is going to visit Germany to meet up with his father's past and somehow come to terms with it. He struggles with hate and forgiveness, and ultimately meets up with his father's past, and his own obsession, in a confrontation that tests his courage and helps him approach some sort of peace.
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Format: Paperback
This book was amazing. It was written so well and told a story seldom written about. I have read many book about the Holocaust, but none dealt with the realities of being the child of a survivor. I cried for 200 of the 230 pages. This book has so much to teach, and was a very quick read. It is a must-read for anyone who knows Holocaust survivors or their children.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed Elie Wiesel's writing style. I read Night in high school and this book was required for a college class. If anyone is interested in the Holocaust and the effects of it on the second generation of the survivors, definitely read this novel. The way that Wiesel writes about how the Holocaust affects the children of its survivors is extremely powerful.
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