Thursday, April 5, 2012

Meaning Must Be Wrestled From Life

The Night Trilogy contains Elie Weisel’s most popular book, Night, and two other lesser known works, Dawn and The Accident (now called Day).

Dawn is the story of a Holocaust survivor who is recruited into an underground organization in Palestine and ordered to kill a British soldier taken as hostage.  The novel reads more like a sketch than a full treatment of the subject.  The characters make may speeches that by and large prevent the reader from feeling that Weisel is creating a living, breathing work.  In the end, the rather obvious moral is spelled out for us, and we are left feeling disappointed.

But The Accident redeems Dawn.  Here, in the love story between Catherine and the narrator, Weisel finds a very effective voice, exploring some deep topics about love, death, control and guilt with masterful strokes.  Rather than reaching conclusions for us, Weisel lets the reader draw conclusions (or in my case, not) from this dark tale of love.  Meaning, he tells us in this complex short novel, must be wrestled not only from life, but from the books we read. 

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