Friday, January 18, 2013

Night by Elie Wiesel

This book was...


I find it difficult to review this book. What right do I have to judge it, even as good? What right do I have to subject to my literary tastes the dead who scream from the pages of this book for their voices to be heard?

In case you're not aware, Night is a memoir by a Jewish man who was sent to a concentration camp as a boy, along with his family. Through the narrative, as he fights for his own life and his father's life, he witnesses the horrifying tragedies of the Holocaust, firsthand.

I could say that the language in the book is beautiful and surreal (it is). I could say that the careful selection of the images of the concentration camps has a terrible power in its simplicity (it does). I could say that I was overwhelmed with sadness, and at the same time horrified by my ability to read this book so objectively.

Sometimes, after reading a book like this, I'm amazed and frightened by my ability to put it aside and forget about it the next moment, going on with my everyday mundane tasks. I can somehow forget that the same kind of oppression and horror is happening in the world right now, and there's nothing I can do about it.

I know people read this in high school quite often. I didn't; this was my first time reading it. I'm wondering what high school students think of this. If you read this in high school, what did you think of it then? Or if you read it later (like me), what do you think of it now?

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