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Habeas Blogus

Book reviews, more for my memory than anything else.

Location: Austin, Texas, United States

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Night, by Elie Wiesel

Started 12/1, finished 12/5

My God.

How can you start a review about a first-hand holocaust narrative without saying "My God"? I don't even know how to approach this, except to say that I'm not going to be objective about it. I had some quibbles with how it was structured and translated, and as I was reading it, I refused to write them down or even to remember them. Seriously, I have no idea what the flaws were anymore, because the emotional impact and the importance of the message trumped my desire to criticize the work.

The story follows a young Jewish man (something like 15 years old) as he is taken from his home and placed in labor camp after labor camp, forced to witness the suffering and death of most of the rest of his family and neighbors. Only because he is so young and strong does he survive. It's harrowing, as these things usually are, but the tone of the novel is what is so extraordinary. It blasts through you like a firehose, painting grotesque word pictures that convey the despair and moral poverty with the kind of clarity you could only get from a first-hand account.

Book #26 will be The Poet, by Michael Connelly.



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