Night (The Night Trilogy, #1) by Elie Wiesel
Published by Hill and Wang on January 16, 2006 (first published in 1958)
Genres: memoir, nonfiction, historical
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This is not really going to be a review, per se. Because I don’t feel this is a novel that can be rated on the typical scale, seeing as it’s somebody’s story, a part of somebody’s life. And I feel strange trying to rank or rate that.
This is not really going to be a review because I’m not rating its prose, its atmosphere, or its storytelling component. All of those elements are here, and they are fantastically written, but this book is not here as entertainment. Night is a reminder–the still, small solitary voice that echoes in the wide, dark room of our world. And as Wiesel tells his story of being kept in a ghetto, of surviving Auschwitz with all its shadows and flames and hunger, of marching in the snow with a bleeding foot, it’s impossible not to listen.
We live in a time where events like the Holocaust and the terror of WWII are reduced to pages in a history textbook and slides on PowerPoints. For those of us who never experienced such events ourselves, it is terrifyingly easy to forget the pain and suffering that occurred. But Wiesel spreads awareness by sharing his experiences very intimately, without exploiting those experiences.
This book is not propaganda. It is a testament–and a warning to the world, told through the eyes of a teenager who was persecuted solely for his heritage. It’s a story that’s impossible to forget, which is crucial if we want to prevent such things from happening again. This just as heart-wrenching as it is important. It’s a difficult read, but a vital one. Because shame on us the day we ever forget.