Title: The Accident
Author: Elie Wiesel
Length: 111 pages
If an author chooses to preface their book with a quote, chances are, that quote is highly valuable in discerning deeper meaning from what you are about to read. The Accident opens with this quote:
I was once more struck by the truth of the ancient saying: Man’s heart is a ditch full of blood. The loved ones who have died throw themselves down on the bank of this ditch to drink the book and so come to life again; the dearer they are to you, the more of your blood they drink.
– Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
Opening quotes like that also play a major role in setting a tone for the story that is about to unfold before you on each page.
The Accident is the third installment in the Night trilogy, but, like with Dawn, don’t expect this to be a direct continuation of the previous stories. Like Dawn, this story is fictional, but the main character has lived through some of the same real-life hell that the author lived through in the concentration camps. Through the main character, Eliezer, we witness some of the emotional and psychological aftermath of being a survivor.
After reading the first few pages, I thought that this might be a love story (once again I didn’t read any reviews of blurbs on this before diving getting into it) and was excited to see how Wiesel would tackle a love story since I have so totally fallen in love with his writing and voice. As you may already know, I was wrong, though I don’t feel as though I was entirely wrong.
It’s not a love story in any traditional sense, but the main character struggles with an (in)ability to love (others, himself, and life) while he has a woman in his life who would really like to be able to make things work. But we learn that one person cannot change another and no one person can completely overcome their significant others history. Especially if that history leaves him or her yearning for death.