Thursday, 26 November 2009
Night - A Book Review
Here is my book review for AW Blog Chain. Previous link in the chain was DavidZahir - http://zahirblue.blogspot.com/ Next link is RavenCorinnCarluk - http://raven.youareannoying.us Rest of the participants Vein Glory - http://podpeep.blogspot.com/ Shethinkstoomuch - http://shethinkstoomuch.wordpress.com Lady Cat - http://randomwriterlythoughts.blogspot.com Rosemerry - http://beyondtourism.wordpress.com/ Night - Elie Wiesel I don't make a habit of reading non-fiction books about wars. Occassionally I come across something but usually I tend to stay away from depressing topics. Though there are some stories which one simply cannot ignore, no matter how horrific or how uncomfortable because they tell us something important. Night is one such book. A tiny little thing at less than 100 pages, it is a memoire of a man called Elie Wiesel, who is one of the few survivors of Auschwitz concentration camp from WWII. Wiesel came from a small town where people thought the Red Army will soon defeat the Nazis and they would be safe. When they warned by one of their own people that Nazis will come, they called him a madman. It was near the end of the war, and Wiesel, a teenage boy was studying religion and living his ordinary life. Then Nazis came and everything changed. The whole town - they were mostly jewish - was emptied and people were taken to concentration camps. Almost immediately, Elie and his father were seperated from the women of their family, and Elie never saw his mother and sisters again. The book tells the story of Elie Wiesel and his father's life in the concentration camp. It took Wiesel 10 years before he broke his silence and told this story. It is a horrific story which shows us how cruel humans can be, and reminds us that though there are no concentration camps today, that nature of man is not non-existence. I love this book, because besides the suffering there is another message. Will to survive. Elie had it, and so did many others. It tells us that we as people are far stronger than we imagine ourselves to be. It shows us people's worst side, but also their spirit of endurance. It is also a journey of his faith. Before the camp, Wiesel was devoted to God. Things he went through and saw in the concentration camp made him question that devotion. As a writer, this book is beautifully written. It is very simple, but profound. One cannot help but feel the words and share a little bit of Wiesel's sufferings though I don't think any of us can possibly imagine what he truly went through. One of the main reasons why I love this book is because even though these concentration camps stories are hard to revisit and often we want to ignore the horrific past, it is good to remember that there are people who were strong enough to survive it. And that by knowing their stories, listening to how low human nature fell, we might learn something and improve as a race, be a little kinder and humane towards our own kind. Here is one of my most favourite passage from the book which gives us a glimpse of Elie's trials and the simplistic beauty of his words which I think makes the message sink far deeper, and has more emotional impact. "Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my Faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never."