BOOK REVIEW: Night by Elie Wiesel

Night  (The Night Trilogy #1)Night by Elie Wiesel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazon Page

Nobel Prize Winner Elie Wiesel’s book, Night, tells his story as a boy caught in the Holocaust. A Jew from Sighet in Transylvania, Wiesel was evacuated from the ghetto as a teenager and shipped off to Auschwitz–later to be moved to Buchenwald.

At little over 100 pages, this thin book is tragedy distilled and condensed.

A few of Wiesel’s experiences stick with one because they are just so gut wrenching. One such story is about a woman in the train car who hallucinates fire and flames. Her insanity no doubt spurred by hearing of the massive crematoria. Her delusions were prophetic for all too many of those packed in that cattle-car.

Another key moment came after their train rolled into Auschwitz. Both Elie Wiesel and his father followed advice to lie about their ages, he to make himself older and his father to become younger. This got them both directed to the left; the people who would live for the time being– though they didn’t know that at the time.

The climactic portion of the book deals with the boy’s attempts to cope with his father’s severe illness. On the one hand, his father was all he had. On the other hand, he feared that he would not survive if he had to keep looking after the ill elder. Wiesel is quite frank about the dilemma that clouded his mind. His father’s death would make his own survival more likely. The guilt caused by these thoughts tormented him. This kind of guilt is a prevailing theme in genocide literature. It reminds me of Viktor Frankl’s comment in Man’s Search for Meaning in which he says that the sad truth survivors must live with is that, “the best of us did not return.”

I will end my review by suggesting that you read this book. It’s quick and–while not painless–insightful. I’d intended to ramble on with some personal experiences and observations, but have decided to make that its own post entitled <em>The Bullets that Bore no Name: or, the Burden we all Bear</em>.

If you’re just here for the Night review, thanks for visiting and Godspeed in your journeys through cyberspace.

If you’re at all curious about what I have to say, grab your mint julep and join me on the veranda. The veranda is this way.

View all my reviews

6 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Night by Elie Wiesel

  1. One of my favorite authors is Ursela Hegi. Her fiction is the German citizen response to the Nazi occupation. How they got hood-winked, coerced. Not the least bit “It’s not my fault” instead, her stories are about fictional characters who tried to help Jews and partook in the evil of it all. Have your read, Floating in My Mother’s Palm? GREAT stuff.


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