Book Review: Night by Elie Wiesel

Title: Night
Author: Elie Wiesel
Published: 1958
Genre: Nonfiction – Historical

Synopsis: Night is a work by Elie Wiesel about his experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944–1945, at the height of the Holocaust and toward the end of the Second World War. In just over 100 pages of sparse and fragmented narrative, Wiesel writes about the death of God and his own increasing disgust with humanity, reflected in the inversion of the father–child relationship as his father declines to a helpless state and Wiesel becomes his resentful teenage caregiver. Penetrating and powerful, as personal as The Diary Of Anne Frank,Night awakens the shocking memory of evil at its absolute and carries with it the unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again.

My Rating: red-starred-starred-starred-star

Of course going in to read a WW2 concentration camp memoir is always a sad venture because there’s no way of telling this story without despising humanity a lot. I decided to choose this as one of my readathon books because it was only 109 pages and it did take me 2 days to finish because I was only reading it at night and I am so tired at night.

I think the bulk of this story is the remarkable account of a survivor. Wiesel is very matter-of-fact in his recounting and I think I know why he did this because if he were to write a grand poetic work it would go to places that had died in those years he spent at the camp. I think a part of him died there and this is why he nearly keeps the reader at a distance because he can’t go back to the pain it caused him and I felt how he held back but I cannot blame him or fault him for it.

I think this is a hard read but it’s a book, much like books like 12 Years of Slave that you just have to bite the bullet and read it. Not reading it doesn’t erase what happened it just makes you confront it and it’s not a happy thing to confront – a lot of history is not. Hell, a lot of what goes on around the world is not, it’s very easy to forget it in our world of Barnes & Nobles with Starbucks inside. This was jarring and painful and I ground my teeth through most of it. I don’t know if I would flippantly recommend this book, I think this is the type of book a person has to reach for when they feel they are ready to read first-hand accounts. For me? This is a book I don’t think I will read again because the events flourished so vividly in my mind that I wont soon forget.

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