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Night (Night) Paperback – January 16, 2006
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“A slim volume of terrifying power.” ―The New York Times
“Required reading for all of humanity.” ―Oprah
“Wiesel has taken his own anguish and imaginatively metamorphosed it into art.” ―Curt Leviant, Saturday Review
“To the best of my knowledge no one has left behind him so moving a record.” ―Alfred Kazin
“What makes this book so chilling is not the pretense of what happened but a very real description of every thought, fear and the apathetic attitude demonstrated as a response . . . Night, Wiesel's autobiographical masterpiece, is a heartbreaking memoir. Wiesel has taken his painful memories and channeled them into an amazing document which chronicles his most intense emotions every step along the way.” ―Jose Del Real, Anchorage Daily News
“As a human document, Night is almost unbearably painful, and certainly beyond criticism.” ―A. Alvarez, Commentary
Top Customer Reviews
This is written a style that seems to be typical of many modern Israeli novelists; it is so close to the truth of the actual events that transpired in Wiesel's life that it might as well be treated as autobiographical. Thus, it seems to some to be more a work like a novel than a memoir, but Weisel describes it himself as more of a deposition. It isn't autobiography in the traditional sense, but that is what helps give the book its power. Weisel remembers the events here, This is actually part of a trilogy - Night, Dawn, and The Accident - although each element stands alone with integrity. (Dawn and The Accident are works of fiction, but also draw on Weisel's own recollections and feelings.)
How does one deal with survival after such atrocities as that at Birkenau and Auschwitz? How can one have faith in the world? How can one accept that a people so closely identified with a powerful God can ever accept that God again? Where is God in the midst of such things?
Wiesel himself as spent his life in search of such answers, but doesn't provide them here. Why then would one want to read such accounts as these? Wiesel was silent for many years, until he was brought into speech and writing as a witness to the events. Wiesel proclaims that there is in the world now a new commandment - 'Thou shalt not stand idly by' - when such things are happening, one must act. One must remember the past in all its personal aspects to both honour those who suffered and to forestall such things happening again (which, given the the depressing repetitive nature of history, is a difficult task).
This is the longest short book I've ever read. It is one that has stayed with me from the first page, and I've never been able to shake the images brought forward, the misery and suffering, the existence of evil and brutality, the sadness and desolation. We live in a culture that likes to gloss over pain and suffering, mask it with drugs and other things, and always end the story with a happy ending.
There is no happy ending here - even Wiesel's own survival is a questionable good here. How does one live after this? How does the world go on?
One thing is certain, we must never forget, and this book is part of that active remembering that we are called to do.
It's a stark peek into the nature of evil that is at once uncomfortable to acknowledge and invaluable to read and absorb. The propagation of evil from forces unexpected is what makes Wiesel's book resonate today. As we consider the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Dili and Liquica Church massacres in East Timor, the 1994 Rwandan genocide (dramatized in the superb film, 2004's "Hotel Rwanda"), or most pertinently, the detention camps that exist today in North Korea, it is obvious that the Third Reich did not have a monopoly on justifying such slaughter. With his two older sisters, Wiesel was able to survive the camps and share his devastating story with future generations. Compressed from a much larger memoir Wiesel wrote in Yiddish, the book represents a powerfully affecting treatment that edits the key moments of his existence to their essence. The result is elliptical and startling. Like Art Spiegelman's "Maus" series, William Styron's "Sophie's Choice", Thomas Keneally's "Schindler's List" and of course, the most heartbreaking, Anne Frank's diary, Wiesel's work lends yet another piercing look into the unanticipated breaches of the human soul during one of history's most dire times. Strongly recommended.