Review & Personal Commentary on “Night” by Elie Wiesel

Review: Just thinking of people in the modern age, who might have endured suffering, pain and agony and understandably may have been terrible, unspeakable, unthinkable, yet who still have had the opportunity to read this book, have a computer with internet connection and then type up and post a review of it…yet can still critique writing style and include a dismissiveness based on that?

That leaves me speechless but reaffirms my observation that many of those who have not really suffered the unimaginable, yet have such access, continue to be the ones to negatively or poorly rate a work of personal, agonizing minimalism which contains such profound revelations and truth.

I stopped to reread “Night” this week, and it places in great perspective whatever mundane pain, thought or complaint I might have in life right now, in general. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t negate anyone’s current situation, but it does give you a wider range in which to observe your own life.

I am a student of WW2 and Holocaust literature and history. I am also a person who was born and spent much time in Germany interacting with and interviewing those who remember firsthand, or those who were 1st gen survivors or ones who directly remember on a variety factors: NOT just because their parents might have been involved, but those who survived and endured the “survivors guilt” that maybe they shouldn’t have.

One of the things I’ve noted is that, because the events have replayed to the level of infinity in their minds, sometimes when they recount, it does sometimes come across as bloodless, or too cool. This is part of the psychological mechanisms of the brain which enact to protect that person. Sometimes the level of self-absorption and intentness of having some kind of entertainment from works of horrific history, or a desire to learn of ugly history but not really wishing to “know” of it, actually horrifies me.

Description: In Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night, a scholarly, Orthodox teenager is wracked with guilt at having survived the horror of the Holocaust & the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare worlds of Auschwitz-Birkenau & Buchenwald present him with an intolerable question: how can the god he once so fervently believed in have allowed these monstrous events to occur? There are no easy answers in this harrowing book, which probes life’s essential riddles with the lucid anguish only great literature achieves. It marks the crucial first step in Wiesel’s lifelong project to bear witness for those who died.

Note: First published in 1958, there are many editions of “Night”, in several different languages. Mine is a self- purchased copy, 1982 edition.

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1 Comment

Filed under Memoir, Non-Fiction, Reviews

One response to “Review & Personal Commentary on “Night” by Elie Wiesel

  1. Pingback: Poem: Conversation With A Former Nazi | Songs of the Universal Vagabond

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