Tag Archives: Holocaust

The Accident by Elie Wiesel

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.

Buy The Accident on Amazon.

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Dawn by Elie Wiesel

Title:  Dawn
Author:  Elie Wiesel
Length:  96 pages

I read Dawn immediately after I finished Elie Wiesel’s best known book, Night.  Like most of the amateur reviewers that I’ve read, I foolishly thought that this was a sequel to Night.  In my defense, I was inclined to believe this because I have a book identifying this as the 2nd in the Elie Wiesel trilogy – another story, The Accident follows Dawn.

I didn’t read any blurbs before diving into this book, which is another reason I was able to believe that it might focus on Wiesel’s life and personal experiences after the end of the Holocaust.  The title itself left me feeling that it might be lighter; that, possibly, something very good happened in his life after all of the evil that he experienced in his life.

Dawn, however, is very different.  First, it’s a fictional story about a young man named Elisha taking part in a resistance movement against the English in a fight for a free Jewish state.  But this isn’t where the main focus of the story lies.  Almost all of the 96 pages cover a night leading up to two executions, scheduled to take place at dawn.  The reader gets a glimpse into all of the thoughts, fears, and justifications that go through Elisha’s  mind.

This book is powerful.  Like Night, it contains passages bound to stick with me for life.  Wiesel’s books, unlike a lot of the other books that I have been reading lately, force me to stop and really think.  I love it and look forward to reading more of his work.

One of my favorite quotes from the book and one that, I feel, is imperative to always remember:

A man hates his enemy because he hates his own hate.  He says to himself: This fellow, my enemy, has made me capable of hate.  I hate him not because he’s my enemy, not because he hates me, but because he arouses me to hate.

Buy a copy of Dawn on Amazon.

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Filed under Books, Classics, Elie Wiesel