Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Night by Elie Wiesel

Amazon.com Review: In Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel's memoir Night, a scholarly, pious teenager is wracked with guilt at having survived the horror of the Holocaust and the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare world of the death camps 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.

As I listened to this audiobook, I was struck by how at the beginning, and even later when terrible things are occurring, the people of the community of Sighet acclimated to the changes so readily. A change would occur, such as, all Jews being required to wear the yellow star, and there would be this moment of shock but then life would continue and the people would strive to regain their sense of normalcy and in many ways, they would achieve that. With each change, each restriction on their freedom, each tightening of the noose, the Jews would strive to return to normalcy. I'm not sure what this says about human nature. Something about adapting ourselves to adversity and our resilience in tough times - certainly good qualities. But looking back, you just wish they had known and understood. I wanted to cry out as I listened, "Stop, that's not right, this is wrong, get away. Save yourselves!" I can't imagine how Moshe the Beadle felt - trying to warn the community and having his pleas fall on deaf ears. I can't imagine how any of them felt. The Nazi war crimes are horrific. Hearing about the Holocaust is just an assault to your imagination because it is so incomprehensible. The narrator George Guidall does an excellent job bringing the text to life but letting the drama come from the strength of the tale and the images it conjures up. That Elie and his father and so many of their fellow prisoners were able to maintain their faith in God is beautiful. Reading this and hearing this is important.

This is one of my books for the 2009 Audiobook Challenge too. 3/12 completed on that one - click on the button to see how it's going!

1 comment:

Beth F said...

This was such a powerful audiobook. I couldn't stop listening. Would I be a strong in similar circumstances?