This is the memoir of Elie Wiesel, as a young boy of 15 who suffered though the horrors of the holocaust. These are his memories, in harrowing and vivid detail that sometimes you wish you could turn away from but can’t. It’s a slim volume, seemingly too small a tome to document such a horrendous and seemingly never ending event, but I suppose it is almost merciful that it doesn’t go longer than it does.
Here the unthinkable is given voice. The inhumanity of labor camps, the degradation, the hunger and desperation is palpable throughout this book. The cruelty that we are capable of, the resilience we didn’t know we had, it’s all there. When fathers and sons turn against each other, is this the end of civility or morality or is it just mere survival? What makes one life more valuable than another? What value do we put on just living? These are the questions that one is forced to ponder when reading this book. It is a small book but big ideas and questions are awakened. You will be left thinking about the words in this book long after you’ve closed the last page.