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The Town Beyond the Wall: A Novel Paperback – May 16, 1995
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“Elie Wiesel does not describe, he casts a spell. His imagination is in a state of trance. His words are a voice crying in the hideousness of our time.”
—Abraham Joshua Heschel
“Not since Albert Camus has there been such an eloquent spokesman for man.”
—The New York Review of Books
Top Customer Reviews
"The Town Beyond the Wall" is told through flashbacks. Michael, the narrator, is being tortured in jail after finding his way back home inside the Iron Curtain. His torture is the 'prayer', to stand face to a wall until the pain in his legs causes him to speak. But Michael is strong and resists telling on his friend because he wishes to save a life. He no longer cares about God or religion. He is plagued by memories of his childhood and the regrets he has about actions not taken. He desperately wants answers but knows that some of his questions have no answers.
Wiesel is a master storyteller. He creates characters who are vivid and alive, perhaps because they are endowed with who he is. In "The Town Beyond the Wall" he has crafted perhaps his most optimistic tale, ending with a parable that is at once as thought-provoking as it is disturbing. Perhaps Wiesel has Michael sum up the story the best with these words: "...it isn't easy to live always under a question mark. But who says that the essential question has an answer? The essence of man is to be a question, and the essence of the question is to be without an answer."
Keep reading, as the fruits of this novel are fully revealed at the end. Then, the entire book makes sense, although it leaves many questions about weighty matters unanswered.
Weisel is a master at this type of storytelling. He reveals nothing until it is absolutely necessary. He does not feel the need to coddle the reader in the first chapter, lulling him or her to continue to read. We must work to read his novels. If we wish to derive benefit from them, there can be no passive readers.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is a bit hard to read, but it is a necessary read. Lest we forget. Can't put it down. It us encouraging that the capacity to love survives all things.Published 12 months ago by ANTONETTE PEARSON