Sunday, January 21, 2007


Title: Night
Author: Elie Wiesel
Genre: Adult Biography
Pages: 120
Edition: Hardcover

Written by Elie Wiesel, "Night" is a heart-wrenching, astounding novel about his painful recollection of the most horrific memories of Jewish Holocaust during WWII. The terrifying atrocities that happened in the Nazi concentration camps were totally horrendous and an overwhelming sadness crept into my mind as I read this book. To be honest, I think no words could even come close to describing the true horrors millions of Jewish victims endured.
The book opens up in 1941, with Elie a 13-year-old boy living with his family in Sighet, a little town in Transylvania. The Jews of Sighet turned deaf ears to the oppressions of the Jewish community in Europe and lived under a state of delusion until 1944. When the German troops encroach the little town, one decree after another were enforced upon the Jews. Even when the Jews were refrained from owning gold and silver, prohibited from visiting synagogue and confined to living in the ghettos, they remained oblivious to what's happening around them. In spring 1944, when the German troops order evacuation, Elie & his family with other Jews were forced to leave Sighet. Hundreds of Jews loaded in each cattle cars, they begin the long hideous journey to the concentration camp in Auschwitz in utter despair. With the few crumbs of bread and little water as the only form of sustenance, not many Jews survive this arduous journey. On reaching the camp, men and women were separated and Elie was torn apart from his mother and little sisters. His survival in the camp and the cruelties he suffered and witnessed there forms the rest of the story.
It was excruciatingly painful to read about how Jews were shot like dogs, starved and beaten to death, burnt alive in furnaces and poisoned in gas chambers. The stench from the burning flesh that ever lingered in the camp gave me a gut-wrenching feel. Chills ran down my spine when I read about the babies being thrown into the flames while they were alive.

Here are a few haunting passages from the novel:

When Elie witnessed the hanging of a child in the gallows, he says...
"..the rope was still moving; the child, too light, was still breathing...And so he remained for more than half an hour, lingering between life and death,writhing before our eyes. ..... Behind me, I heard the man asking:
"For God's sake, where is God?"
And from within me, I heard a voice answer:
"Where He is? This is where - hanging here from this gallows..." That night, the soup tasted of corpses."

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed.
Never shall I forget that smoke.
Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky.
Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.

Never as a reader shall I forget those poignant memories that will be engraved in my mind forever.
What a terrific read!! Highly Recommended!!
My Rating: 5/5


Lotus Reads said...

Chitts, I am so excited to have discovered your book blog! Not only are your reviews just awesome, but our reading tastes are similar! I have "Night" on my bookshelf and after reading your review I am dying to promote it to the top of my pile, except, I need to get through the challenges first. I wonder if "Night" would qualify as a classic? That way, I could read it for the Classics Challenge, failing which I could include it in the non-fiction challenge.

I love the passages you picked to share, they were deeply disquieting but unforgettable.

Happy Reader said...

This book was quite disturbing and brought tears to my eyes a few times but I was so glad I read it!! Being an Adult Biography, I am sure you can include this in the non-fiction category, if not for a classic. I am curious to read your review on this one

Nyssaneala said...

I read Night a few years ago, and the story had a profound effect on me.

One of the most memorable passages for me is: " Men to the left! Women to the right!' Eight words spoken quietly, indifferently, without emotion. Eight simple, short words. Yet that was the moment when I left my mother..."

btw - I came across your journal via Lotus Reads. We seem to have similar reading tastes.

Happy Reader said...

Nyssaneala ,
Thanks for visiting my blog! I do remember that passage you mentioned, it touched me deeply too. I skimmed your blog, and some of your favorite reads are mine as the Kite Runner, Agatha Christie and I love those Anne of Green Gables Series!