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Old 07-04-2016, 11:52 AM
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Default TTBC July 2016: Night by Elie Wiesel

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Night (1960) is a work by Elie Wiesel about his experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944–1945, at the height of the Holocaust toward the end of the Second World War. In just over 100 pages of sparse and fragmented narrative, Wiesel writes about the death of God and his own increasing disgust with humanity, reflected in the inversion of the parent–child relationship, as his father declines to a helpless state and Wiesel becomes his resentful teenage caregiver. "If only I could get rid of this dead weight ... Immediately I felt ashamed of myself, ashamed forever." In Night everything is inverted, every value destroyed. "Here there are no fathers, no brothers, no friends," a kapo tells him. "Everyone lives and dies for himself alone."

Wiesel was 16 when Buchenwald was liberated by the United States Army in April 1945, too late for his father, who died after a beating while Wiesel lay silently on the bunk above for fear of being beaten too. He moved to Paris after the war and in 1954 completed an 862-page manuscript in Yiddish about his experiences, published in Argentina as the 245-page Un di velt hot geshvign ("And the World Remained Silent"). The novelist François Mauriac helped him find a French publisher. Les Éditions de Minuit published 178 pages as La Nuit in 1958, and in 1960 Hill & Wang in New York published a 116-page translation as Night.

Fifty years later the book had been translated into 30 languages, and now ranks as one of the bedrocks of Holocaust literature. It remains unclear how much of Night is memoir. Wiesel has called it his deposition, but scholars have had difficulty approaching it as an unvarnished account. The literary critic Ruth Franklin writes that the pruning of the text from Yiddish to French transformed an angry historical account into a work of art.

Night is the first in a trilogy—Night, Dawn, Day—marking Wiesel's transition during and after the Holocaust from darkness to light, according to the Jewish tradition of beginning a new day at nightfall. "In Night," he said, "I wanted to show the end, the finality of the event. Everything came to an end—man, history, literature, religion, God. There was nothing left. And yet we begin again with night."
Elie Wiesel died on July 2, 2016. He was 86 years old.
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Old 07-04-2016, 12:54 PM
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This can be a hard book to get through, but its one of the most important books you'll ever read.
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:35 AM
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I read this book in high school. It was a formative experience.

I'm not sure I have the strength to read it again.
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:17 AM
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Yeah, I wanna say that we read it in my junior year in high school, probably earlier. Or maybe I'm conflating when we read Anne Frank with Elie Wiesel.

I think this is why I can't understand Holocaust deniers. Part of the danger is I assume that my mandatory education was about similar to everyone else's mandatory education, and part of that was reading stuff like Elie Wiesel and a field trip to a Holocaust museum.
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Old 07-17-2016, 10:12 PM
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Read it today in a single sitting.

Rough. If I hadn't been outdoors in a beautiful, calm location I don't know if I could have done it.
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:36 PM
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I don't think I could read this, like I could never watch Grave of the Fireflies or read/watch Sophie's Choice.

If I could, I'd like to read the original Yiddish, Argentinian(I chose this word because of the country of origin of that version, not the language), French and English versions. To see what differences there were, little details perhaps left out in one version or emphasized in another. To see more of his life, his story.

I wish I was that strong.
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moon Orbit View Post
I don't think I could read this, like I could never watch Grave of the Fireflies or read/watch Sophie's Choice.

If I could, I'd like to read the original Yiddish, Argentinian(I chose this word because of the country of origin of that version, not the language), French and English versions. To see what differences there were, little details perhaps left out in one version or emphasized in another. To see more of his life, his story.

I wish I was that strong.
The most recent translation into English was done by Wiesel's wife with his input and discussion.
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:11 AM
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I first read this book in high school and even as a dumb kid I knew I had just read one of the most important books of my life. I read it again a few months ago and it wasn't any less powerful. Catch me at a weak moment and I might say its one of my favorite books, but most of the time I'd probably say its not appropriate to call a book like this a 'favorite.'

There were few living humans I respected as much as Elie Wiesel. I was pretty upset when I found out that he died, especially on the same day that Trump was making antisemetic overtures.

There's been a lot of discussion as to whether Night was a purely factual account or if parts were fictionalized, but I'd argue it doesn't matter.

Last edited by Solitayre; 07-18-2016 at 08:55 AM. Reason: I am great at spelling
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Old 07-28-2016, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solitayre View Post
There's been a lot of discussion as to whether Night was a purely factual account or if parts were fictionalized, but I'd argue it doesn't matter.
I dont know if its factual, and I dont know how important that is. I have a feeling that it is a true account though.

Memory is so unconsciously malleable that Wiesel's account might no longer perfectly line up with the facts but still be his accurate recounting of the events that happened to him.

I'm thankful he was able to live through the horrors and bear witness to them.
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