NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Friday, January 23, 2009

DAWN

by Elie Wiesel



From the back cover of Dawn:

Elisha, a young Jewish Holocaust survivor now living as a terrorist in British-controlled Palestine, awaits dawn, when he has been ordered to kill a captive English officer. Caught between the manifold horrors of the past and the troubling dilemmas of the present, Elisha wrestles with guilt, ghosts, and ultimately God as he awaits the appointed hour for his act of assassination.
If you've read Wiesel's Night, you know exactly how I feel right now and how hard it is to express what I'm thinking. While Dawn is not at all a happy book, it is not one of those books that left me depressed. It left me deeply introspective. Given the same history, can I honestly say that my moral integrity would not have led me to the same acts as Elisha? I would like to be able to confidently say yes. I'd like to, but there is a thin black thread of uncertainty that bothers me. And therein lies the power of these eighty-one pages.

Though this very short novel is about a Holocaust survivor, it is particularly relevant in the time of our current conflicts in the Middle East. The emotions portrayed in Dawn are no doubt transpiring in the hearts of too many. In response to my own thin black thread, I will let the author's own words speak for themselves: "[H]atred is never an answer, and . . . death nullifies all answers. There is nothing sacred, nothing uplifting, in hatred or in death."



24 comments:

Ramya said...

I read "Night" and totally totally loved the book. After reading your review, I definitely want to read "dawn" as well.. thanks!

Joy said...

This one is on my TBR list. Thanks, Lezlie.

Serena said...

I have not read Night in a long time, but remember being very shell-shocked...unable to articulate my thoughts on the book.

Dawn sounds like another of those books.

Terri B. said...

I've got "Night" on the TBR pile. I've not read it yet. I'll be going to hear a holocaust survivor speak in about a week. Maybe that would be the right time to read "Night." Thanks for the review.

Lezlie said...

Ramya & Joy ~ I've got "Day" here as well, the final book in the trilogy. I'm hoping to get to that very soon.

Serena ~ Exactly. "Shell-shocked" is a perfect description.

Terri ~ You're in for a great read! I can't wait to see what you think when you're finished! I hope you talk about the speaker on your blog. I think it would be so affecting to hear in person.

Lezlie

Dar said...

Thanks for bringing this to my attention Lezlie. I did read Night and would certainly like to read this one. I can't agree more that hatred is never the answer. Great review Lezlie.

Jo-Jo said...

I haven't read Dawn yet, I read Night a few years ago and loved it. Looks like I will have to add this one to my list!

Lezlie said...

Dar ~ Thank you!

Jo-Jo ~ I think you'll like it a lot.

Lezlie

bermudaonion said...

I haven't read Night, but my son read it in high school and it really affected him.

Lezlie said...

Bermudaonion ~ Oh, you should read it! It's not "fun" to read, but . . . just wow. You never forget it. Kind of like "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.

Lezlie

Nymeth said...

I really, really want to read this book.

And you know, without having read the book I can't say much about the situation you have in mind, but I kind of suspect that "black thread" of doubt may be what keeps us human, and that it's essential for compassion. Because after "I never would" comes "I am above those who would", and I really don't want to walk down that road.

Lezlie said...

Nymeth ~ Beautiful! Very well said. And so true. My little black thread is a good thing when you put it like that! :-) Seriously though, I believe you're absolutely right.

Lezlie

Teddy Rose said...

I remember the "heavy" feeling I had when I read Night. His novellas sure pack a punch! Great review Lezlie!

Anna said...

I read Night ages ago. I'd like to read more of Wiesel's work.

I'm assuming you want to count this for the WWII reading challenge, so I created a post for your review here on War Through the Generations. I also linked to it on the book reviews page.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Teddy Rose ~ Thanks! And, yes, they do. I have "Day" here, too, so we'll see how that one is soon.

Anna ~ Thank you! I actually didn't count this one for that challenge, since it really had nothing about WWII in it, but if you think it counts, I may change my mind! :-)

Lezlie

Andi said...

I so want to read this one! Night is one of my favorite books, and I can't imagine that anything of Wiesel's could be less than stellar. Can't wait to try it (and I might have it on my stacks...can't remember).

Lezlie said...

Andi ~ It's a quick one, so it would be great for when you don't have a lot of time to read, but want something really meaningful.

Lezlie

Ladytink_534 said...

I think I remember reading at least some of Night in school but I'm having a hard time actually recalling the story.

Lezlie said...

Ladytink ~ I don't remember specifics from the book either. I only remember clearly that it really got to me.

Lezlie

Heather J. said...

Having just read NIGHT for the first time last year, I remember quite clearly how it felt when I finished it. This one sounds very intriguing, a book to really make you question yourself.

Lezlie said...

Heather ~ I'll bet it will stay with you for a long time. This one, too!

Lezlie

Anna said...

I included it because the descriptions I've read of the book indicate that his experience as a survivor of the Holocaust plays into his actions. But feel free to handle it however you'd like! :)

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

joanna said...

You've made me want to read it while Night is still fresh in my mind. It sounds intriguing - and who knows what we'd be capable of if someone pushed the right buttons...

Lezlie said...

Joanna ~ I hope you do! I'll be waiting for your thoughts on it!

Lezlie