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When a Christian boy disappears in a fictional Eastern European town in the 1920s, the local Jews are quickly accused of ritual murder. There is tension in the air and a pogrom threatens to erupt. Suddenly, an extraordinary man Moshe the dreamer, a madman and mystic steps forward and confesses to a crime he did not commit, in a vain attempt to save his people from certain death. The community gathers to hear his last words a plea for silence and everyone present takes an oath: whoever survives the impending tragedy must never speak of the town s last days and nights of terror. For fifty years the sole survivor keeps his oath until he meets a man whose life depends on hearing the story, and one man s loyalty to the dead confronts head-on another s reason to go on living. One of Wiesel s strongest early novels, this timeless parable about the Jews and their enemies, about hate, family, friendship, and silence, is as powerful, haunting, and significant as it was when first published in 1973."

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780805208085
ISBN-10: 0805208089
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 139mm x 18mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Random House Inc
Publisher: Random House USA Inc
Publish Date: 30-Aug-2001
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Again Wiesel's richly somber, close and faintly cantorial prose flows over and repolishes the same impenetrable mysteries: that the massacre of innocents transmits a lifelong burden to the survivor; and that the survivor, both doomed and blessed, is forced to confront the knowledge of death which is "not a solution but a question, the most human question of all." This is the narrative of Azriel, the Na-venadnik or perpetual wanderer, who tells the story of his murdered Jewish village - his search for the "soul of the world" among holy men, rationalists, pragmatists and the sacred certainties of beggars and madmen. But Azriel is under an oath of silence, demanded of the village by the "madman" Moshe in the hours before the holocaust - is not testimony Death's ally, the articulation of killing inevitably linked to the act? Therefore, proclaimed Moshe, "we will testify no more." However, since death is "the primary defect. . . in creation," Azriel does tell his story to a young listener to prevent his suicide - to cheat death. Wiesel confronts concepts of fact and symbol and God and man while the meditations, Talmudic discourse, and tales of bestiality and nobility converge toward that night of absolute fear preceding the massacre - and the author mounts horror like a lectern. As in Beggar in Jerusalem (1970) and others, Wiesel examines the possibility of answers to the human dilemma with the experiential agony inherent in the question. Demanding and rewarding. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Elie Wiesel

Elie Wieselis the author of more than fifty books, both fiction and nonfiction. He is a recipient of the United States Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the French Legion of Honor s Grand-Croix, an honorary knighthood of the British Empire and, in 1986, the Nobel Peace Prize. Since 1976, he has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University.

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