Night by Elie Wiesel

details
Title: Night.
Series: The Night Trilogy #1.
Writer(s): Elie Wiesel.
Publisher: Hill and Wang.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: January 16th 2006 (originally published in 1958).
Pages: 120.
Genre(s): Non-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9780374500016.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★.

thoughts

Although reading is an escape from reality for many, it can also be a history lesson for others. Through the stories of those who have seen things that others haven’t, certain authors are able to convey gruesome events in their most raw forms for others to try and understand the scale of inhumanity that has reigned their world in the past. These true stories are never easy to read and are not sought out by everyone by mere fear of the despair that would inevitably overwhelm them. But do you know what history is for? For us to learn from it and do everything in our power to make a better future for us, but also for every generation to come. And sometimes, real change starts with the person you see in the mirror.

Night is the story of Elie Wiesel, accompanied by his father, throughout the Nazi German concentration camps in 1944 and 1945.  Only a teenager when his life turned into a living hell, his time both in Auschwitz and Buchenwald has brought him to realize some of the toughest lessons a child could ever learn and never forget. This very short book recounts all the atrocity that he has had to run into and demonstrates the darkest side of human nature in a context void of hope and comfort. Initially written in 1954 as a 862-page script in Yiddish, it was later translated in French thanks to the help of novelist François Mauriac in 1958, and then in English in 1960. To this day, this piece by Elie Wiesel is one of the most compelling and eye-opening account of World War II that has ever been immortalized.

3

It would be an under-statement to say that Night was a traumatizing story. Its silver lining lies solely in the fact that those who take the time to read Elie Wiesel’s story will continue on with their lives knowing what needs to never happen again. Its the act of not forgetting what once was that gives this book a meaning and lets it transcend beyond its written form and take a life of its own. The events in Night can be quite shocking and never seize to surprise its readers as it continuously bombards you with realizations by Elie Wiesel that there is always something worse that could occur even when you think it could not be possible. His own introspection about the existence of God can be demoralizing. But the most shocking about it all is how hope pervades your thoughts into believing that things will change sooner rather than later. It’s the way mankind rationalizes what they live through in order to survive that makes this moment in history so devastating. But never knowing where the finish line is is what truly makes Night such a terrifying story. How much is too much? How long is enough?

And then there’s the relationship between each other. You’d imagine that being stripped of your dignity within concentration camps will make you look for solidarity among the oppressed in order to survive, but the longer the trial, the more you realize the burden that comes with caring for others. It’s that moment of realization that will destroy both physically and psychologically ever person enclosed within a concentration camp. There are things that happen in this story that make you realize how lucky we all are in the 21st century, especially those living in an industrialized society, those who have a roof over their head, those who are able to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although the physical pain of living within a concentration camp is horrible, this story also shows us how much a simple thought deep within our minds can be even more destructive.

After reading Night, I’ve come to realize that too many of us have been taking life for granted. Everything is relative, but there are still things we should never forget about what we have, but also about what we can now do, only because of the suffering and the fight of so many others in the past. Honestly, read this for yourself. It’ll easily shatter all glasses and let you see the world differently.


EXHIBITA

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52 comments

  • Wow, what an immensely well written review, Lashaan! You never disappoint, honestly, and you never fail to make me excited about a book I would otherwise have no true interest in reading. Quite the accomplishment, I would say!
    Ever since I watched and read The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas I simply can’t find it in myself to read anything else about this time period in our history. It’s too heartbreaking and too overwhelming for my mind to grasp and even though I know it’s important – as you very well noted – to learn about these things and protect ourselves and others as much as possible from letting anything similar happen ever again, it is what it is. I can only read mildly sad or depressing stuff, not full-on tragedies where there’s too much suffering and anguish.
    Nevertheless, your review is, as always, amazing and I hope more people pick up this book after reading it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with Sophie. I loved the depth of this review. I’ve read Night twice. Once in high school, once afterward. I plan to buy a new copy and reread it. The story has stuck with me and I don’t think two reads did it justice. Your review will help me look out for things I didn’t see previously.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Awn, thank you so much! I’m so very glad to hear that. There’s a lot we can learn within these 120 pages. One of those rare books that can continuously leave you in awe at the despicable things that happens in this story without ever having less of an impact.

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    • You are so, so kind! Thank you, Sophie. ❤ I do try and convey as much of my thoughts on what I've read as I can so that others could see how much a particular story could deliver on a more personal level. I actually have to read that classic ASAP hahah I do love to revisit WWII stories, both fictional and non-fictional, from time to time just as a reminder (it's also one of the events that a lot of historical fiction stories take inspiration from after all). But Night… Man… This was knew how to knock the air out of you in just 120 pages. So powerful!

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  • Great review, Lashaan. I read this long ago and have since forgotten the details of it, but I remember being blown away by what I read and had to take a break when I was done to reflect on the experiences I read about.

    Liked by 1 person

  • This novel was already on my wishlist. I’d love to read it. It is heart-breaking and we of course know how long this horror lasted but they, in that moment, did not.. I can’t imagine what that does to you, hoping for it to end yet day after day the same pattern repeats itself… It is important that we never forget and never let it happen again! Thanks for your wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t have said it better. It’s a form of torture on a whole other level. For a believer, it’s even more traumatic since they have to wonder why such things are happening and if it’s the doing of a superior being or maybe the lack of one. Really crazy. I hope you get the chance to experience this story for yourself, Inge. Really worth the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  • After reading a review like this…it’s impossible not to pick this up at some point. Wow what a review! It’s truly written in such powerful words, and carries so much depth, that it totally brings across the horrors of war. It’s sad to think that something like this has ever been allowed to happen. Sadly..we still don’t seem to have learned much😢

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks man, I appreciate the kind words. You’ll be truly stunned by this little book and how much impact it can have on you. And you’re right… The horrors that still happen nowadays, and still nothing could be done to eradicate the issue. It’s tough.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve seen it around a lot too in the past years. It has been on my TBR for too long and I’m glad I finally got around to it. You’ll “enjoy” it, if you ask me. Hope you get the chance to read it soon, Nikola. Thank you so much for your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! You really have to. I’m convinced that you would appreciate this work a lot. And yep, it is a trilogy, but the second and third book aren’t really that connected to Night. People tend to appreciate this story as a stand-alone.

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  • I’ve read several books by Holocaust – and GULAG – survivors, and they all leave deep impression.

    Yes, there are things that cannot be forgotten, and our happiness is possible due to sufferings of the past, but, also – how fragile is this civilization we enjoy, how easily situation can change from prosperity, to crisis, to hell on Earth…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can only imagine all the different stories out there on those horrible events. It’s also how they tell it that really blow your mind. And you’re right, that fragility is insane. I mean, just the idea of messing with our access to the Internet would probably flip this world upside down. It’s just that much easier to create chaos today.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Your review is amazing!! I think you captured what this book is all about. How hard it is to accept these atrocities but how valuable are these lessons from the past…

    I haven’t read any book about what happened during wwII but have seen a lot of movies about it. I couldn’t agree more with everything you said and how important it is to raise awareness on the fact that the things truly happened and yes, sadly, they can happen again. It’s our turn to make sure it won’t happen again. That’s why books, history and education are so important, to always remember.

    Hope you’re doing well 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Caro! ❤ And yes, so, so valuable. I'm even more impressed that it can hit you so hard with only 120 pages. It's that powerful! I find that WWII are truly fascinating and there are just so many things you could check out regarding it too. I don't binge them cause that's just asking for a serious case of depression or something. But to see how it impacts a person physically, but also psychologically is astonoshing. And then on a societal level too? Wow.

      Doing as well as one can be, hope you've been enjoying your transition into your new life! 😛

      Like

  • Wow I read this book years ago and I have to say, this is one of the very few books written about the holocaust that felt so simple but full of impact. I fell like going back to read the book again, see if my opinions of it has changed or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve waited a little too long to get around to it. It’s really quite the experience. So little, yet so powerful. And it’s even translated too, which is really impressive in my books! I’d totally recommend a re-read. I definitely hope to re-read it every once in a while. Amazing book worth every single second of my time!

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  • This books is life changing. It’s not often I say that about a book because it’s so cliche, but Night truly changed my life when I first read it in high school. I try to reread it every couple of years because its impact never lessens.
    I didn’t know this was a trilogy, so now I feel pretty stupid considering how well known this book is.

    Liked by 1 person

  • We read this book in grade 12 english, and man it hit me hard. This is one of my favourite books, because it stuck with me. Just thinking of it bring back all those feeling again and it’s been 9 years now. Just wondering have you read the other two he wrote, I think they were called Dawn and Day but I could be wrong. My english teacher told me he tried to get it published as one long book but they wouldn’t take it. So he split it up into three and Night is obviously the most popular, then they published the other two.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This would totally be a phenomenal book as required reading at school. It would have totally blown me away back then too. I haven’t read the two other books and I’m not sure I will cause I don’t really hear great things about them and most people don’t consider them as sequels per say since the story doesn’t really follow where Night ends. Have you read those sequels though? I honestly don’t know anyone who did hahah

      Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t red them either, my English teacher did she said they are frankly a little boring. She said Nights was by far the best one and the most important. So I don’t know I have flip flopped if I want to try the others.

        Liked by 1 person

  • I haven’t read Night since high school, little over ten years ago, and yet the haunting imagery and story of Night has stuck with me. As you stated in your review, I’m one of those who have little desire to revisit it or other works dealing with such a heavy subject due to the lingering despondency that follows, but that’s why we should every now and then. We can’t afford to ever forget it. Maybe I should pick it up again soon. Can’t afford to let a good book keep gathering dust in the basement for too long =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish I had had the chance to check this out back in high school too. One of those rare and beautiful books that would have easily changed a lot of a person’s perception of the world on just one read. I plan on trying this book out in French the next time I revisit it. Some things in life should just never be forgotten, and always be reminded for ourselves, but also to others. Thank you for checking out my review! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! Honestly pretty crazy that there are deniers out there. Even if the event itself was fiction, there are way too much to learn from it. Like Nineteen Eighty Four. Thank you for reblogging this too! You’re too kind!

      Like

  • I’ve had this book on my shelf for years now… I know that it’s going to be amazing, and your review just confirmed that… But, it’s so hard to get in the mood for something so sad and traumatic. I swear I’ll get to it eventually!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. It’s not going to be an easy read. And it was on my shelf for quite some time too. But its short length and how rare I dive into anything other than comic books and SFF made me want to finally give it a shot. I hope you do get the chance to fix this and read it. I’d be curious to hear your reactions to it. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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