Night by Elie Wiesel

Posted July 30, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

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Night

Night

by Elie Wiesel

Series: The Night Trilogy #1
Publisher: Tzentral Varband für Polishe Yidn in Argentina on December 1, 1956
Genre: #OwnVoices, Autobiography, Classics, Memoir, Non-Fiction, War
Target Age Group: Adult, New Adult, Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

Born in the town of Sighet, Transylvania, Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 to Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Buchenwald. Night is the terrifying record of Elie Wiesel's memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man. This new translation by his wife and most frequent translator, Marion Wiesel, corrects important details and presents the most accurate rendering in English of Elie Wiesel's testimony to what happened in the camps and of his unforgettable message that this horror must simply never be allowed to happen again.

 

Night is a haunting memoir.

I had only the barest of memories about this work from when it was assigned reading in high school, that summer between 8th and 9th grade when the world seemed full of possibilities.  I remember reading this book and … it left enough of an impression on me that I remembered it, but I think I was too young to fully appreciate the horror of it.

While I cannot begin to understand the pain of the Jewish people during the Holocaust, I am so grateful for the courage it must have taken Elie Wiesel to write Night.  The bravery it takes anyone to speak about their trauma.  Genocide is trauma on a particular level and I just… wow.  It’s such a difficult read because of the pain that bleeds through the words.  A necessary pain we must know.  We must remember.  We must never forget.

This memoir is written like a story being told in an interview.  It doesn’t have the gravity and world building of many things.  Unfortunately, the horrors of WWII are part of our cultural consciousness, and even then, we do not fully grasp the pain of the Holocaust.  As far as flow and length and language, this is a very accessible read, and I do understand why it was assigned to me at a freshman English level.  I think this is a piece that needs to be read, and re-read.  It’s a story we need to carve into our bones because it is a story that must be remembered.  While it’s easy to read from a purely technical standpoint, it’s difficult to stomach.  As an adult, I have a greater appreciation for this.

If you’ve never read Night, it’s really one of those book your must read before you die.  Elie Wiesel’s first-hand account of the dehumanizing horror he experienced during WWII is a reminder and a warning.  It’s very powerful, humbling read and I have so much respect for this work.  As a reader, as an historian, and as a human being… I recommend it.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★

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Night Stays On My Shelf

While Night may not be a book I want to pick up all the time, I do think it’s one I want to have access to.  It’s such a powerful book and one that even if I don’t want to read… I should.

In fact, I’m a bit ashamed of myself that it took about 17 years for me to revisit this haunting memoir.  With the sad state of our world right now, it is more important than ever to remember the value of a human life.  I will keep this one in my collection, and I will go back to it from time to time.  It reminds me of suffering I cannot imagine.  It reminds me to rise up and be better, to make sure the world never looks like this again.

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Have you read any books about the Holocaust?  I pick them up from time to time.  I think it’s complicated, because there’s quite a few out there that askew the horror of the concentration camps by building romantic or hopeful stories.  It’s definitely a topic I feel should NOT be touched by non-#OwnVoices writers.  That said… do you have any favorites you would recommend?  Let me know in the comments!

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