Skip to main content

Featured Post

Spring means Hope | Weekly Snapshot

Hello you guys! I seem to have forgotten how to blog with everything going on around here. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Hope you all are coping okay?

Last week Things finally got to some semblance of a routine this week and I've been finally feeling better and in charge of my emotional faculties. I've taken over one of the upstairs bedrooms and set it up as my office-cum-homeschool room. In other words, the room is a big mess, but both my daughter and I are able to navigate the room fine as everything in the room has a meaning in our own brains. We're both very organized that way. I've been using a sit-stand desk for my work laptop and I'm a little glad that I got to try this system finally. When I'm not working, I'm helping the girl with her letters, numbers, or fun activities. Trust me, this is difficult but we worked through the system this week, and think we have it under control. My father-in-law watches my son during the day as the little ma…

Night by Elie Wiesel

I learned after the war the fate of those who had stayed behind in the hospital. They were quite simply liberated by the Russians two days after the evacuation.

Elie Wiesel is not a new name in the book world. I don't remember when I first heard of him - all I know is that as soon as I started following the social world of books, everyone thrust Night at me. When I heard words like moving, amazing, profound, associated with this book, I imagined a hefty volume filled with lots of sad notes. When my copy arrived at home by mail (few years back), the size raised my eyebrows - this book is real slim! And finally, when I got to it early this year, I was even more surprised that although this book is sad, it is not in the written-to-make-you-cry manner.

Every time I read a Nazi concentration camp book like this one, I end up wondering how I would have fared, had I been born Jewish in Nazi Europe during WWII. It's a hard pill to swallow - every book I read amplifies the image of the torture in my mind manifold. Each time, I end up feeling that I know enough about this era, but the next book comes along to prove me wrong. What saddens me the most is the parts where people helplessly watch their own loved ones die, unable to do anything about it. I'm the fiercely protective and willing to fight person when it comes to people I love, so a situation that leaves me unable to do that is pretty hard to read about.

Night is Elie Wiesel's account of how the Holocaust impacted him and his family. Wiesel, who grew up very devout, is tormented by memories of the war and cannot understand why the God he loves would steal his family from him in so cruel a way. He talks about how he ended up there, how he and his father stayed with each other and how fate had different plans for them.

This is not my first experience with Wiesel. His eloquent phrases and thought-provoking stream-of-consciousness will make any reader think. I usually don't enjoy stream-of-consciousness books. But the first book I read by him, The Sonderberg Case, was full of it and it still managed to blow my mind completely, so much so that you can see it on the right side of my blog as a WOW! book. He has a way of raising even the most obvious points in a very new perspective. Even if you know how Night ends, you will root for Wiesel and his father throughout. Without giving word to his emotions, he makes his feelings clear. He talks about oh-crap moments with simplicity and no resentment but as a reader, I said oh-crap. He talks about the tragic moments very matter-of-factly, but as a reader, I cried for him.

As soon as I finished this book, I bought the next two books in the trilogy - Dawn and Day. I was disappointed to find that they weren't really Wiesel's account during the war but more fictional stories revolving around the same themes raised in the first book. Still, Wiesel's writing is pretty hard to resist so I hope to read them soon.

This book is from my personal library.


rhapsodyinbooks said…
I saw him last year and he still seems pretty devout. I can't understand it myself!
Helen Murdoch said…
Night really is one of the best Holocaust memoirs out there. Most of our students read it in 10th grade (World Lit) and it is a rare student that doesn't find it interesting or profound.
techeditor said…
I read this, too, a few years ago. I didn't write a review of it at the time, which irritates. My reviews help me remember. I can't say I was much impressed. I know that may not be the best thing to say about a Wiesel account. But I've read so much fiction and nonfiction about the Holocaust Holocaust over the years that this didn't stand out as all that different.
It's been too many years since I read this. I'm due for a re-read. Such a powerful book
christa @ mental foodie said…
I keep meaning to read this but haven't gotten around to. Must-read!
Anna @ Diary of an Eccentric said…
Great review! I was blown away by this book because it was, as you say, sad but "not in the written-to-make-you-cry manner." It was really thought-provoking. I haven't read the rest of the trilogy because I'm worried that being more fictional would detract from this book, so I'm really looking forward to your thoughts on them.
Athira / Aths said…
I don't think I can either. I would love to meet him someday though. His writing resonates pretty well with me.
Athira / Aths said…
I wish I had read it sooner. It would be one of those books I would have recommended to many. Still, better late than never.
Athira / Aths said…
The other two books in the trilogy are fiction but I believe they follow the same themes and questions. I will be eager to hear what you think.
Athira / Aths said…
I can see where you come from. Once I've read too much of a subject, further books pale in comparison. I usually have that happen with Holocaust books but luckily, this one avoided that.
Athira / Aths said…
It certainly is! Definitely worth a reread!
Athira / Aths said…
I am worried about the same aspect! That's why I put it down soon after I read the first page. I hope to get back to it though.

Popular posts from this blog

Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri (Short Fiction Review)

I first read Jhumpa Lahiri years ago, when her Interpreter of Maladies was making a huge buzz. At the time, I didn't catch any of the buzz, but for some reason, when I saw the book on the shelf at the store I was browsing in, I felt it just might be a decent read. Funnily, I read the entire short story collection without complaining about it, but for some reason, I cannot read any collection anymore without agonizing over its disjoint nature.

I did enjoy Interpreter of Maladies, but I did get bothered by the thread of loneliness and infidelity and distrust that laced through the stories. For that reason, I have been reluctant to read Unaccustomed Earth. However, when I came across Hell-Heaven at the NewYorker - a free short story from her book, I decided to go ahead and read it. I can't resist the pull of stories set in India or featuring Indian characters, and it is that same aspect that hooked me throughout this story.

In Hell-Heaven, the narrator contemplates the relations…

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place.
Bernadette Fox has a reputation. While her husband and her daughter Bee love her, there's barely anyone else who share the sentiment. Her neighbor Audrey loves to gossip mean things about her with her close friend, Soo-Lin. The other parents of kids at Bee's school look down on Bernadette because she doesn't involve herself in school affairs. Bernadette herself goes out of her way to avoid company.

And then one day, Bee comes home with an excellent report card and asks for her reward - a family trip to Antarctica. The very plan throws Bernadette into a panic but she has no other option. She hires a virtual assistant, based out of India to take care of all her demands, including getting prescriptions at her local pharmacy, doing her online shopping and taking care of some of the logistics of her trip. (It is ridiculous! Bern…

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (Short Fiction review)

With the Hunger Games hype that engulfed us last week, it was hard to avoid all the discussion of similar works that existed. Of the many titles that I came across, two stood out particularly - a short story called The Lottery and a Japanese novel (and movie) called Battle Royale (which I'm reading right now and just cannot put down). The novel will be fodder for another post, so for now, I just want to rave about the awesomeness that was The Lottery.

In contemporary America, villagers across the country are gathering on the 27th of June (and some a day earlier) for an annual event called the Lottery. Children, women, men, all come to the main square of their village or town, where the lottery master keeps a black box full of paper chips. One of these chips is marked has a special mark on it to identify the winner (the person who draws that chip). Not everyone draws however, but only the head of the family. Husbands are viewed as the head of their families/households, and if the …