Two nights ago, right after work, I began the first segment of my holiday time for 2009. Next week I am not working a bit, and so don’t even TRY to get me to do something because I’m telling you right now, the answer is “No.”
I’m on VACATION, and a more deserved one hath never been earned, no, not even by you, dear reader! So I kicked everything off with three hours in my car on my way to a friend’s place. I figured this road-trip would be a great opportunity to listen to one of these audio books, you know, on CD.
And I did.
I listened to Dawn, the 1961 novel by Elie Wiesel.
I also read this thing in normal book format, in August of 1994. [← I keep meticulous reading records]. Back then I had sort of gone on a Wiesel binge, reading about six or seven of his books in a row.
I wanted to hear Dawn!
Usually I do not like the concept of books on CD. But I must say, I very much enjoyed listening to the book in its entirety during those 3 hours on the road.
It is a sobering book. Very much so.
It’s about this 18-year old Holocaust survivor Jewish guy, Elisha, who conscripts into some sort of resistance movement. Basically what happens is he is selected to be the executioner of this one British hostage. And the book describes the inner turmoil, the struggle of this young man as he comes to terms with what must take place at dawn.
He must become a murderer.
And another man must become dead.
There is so much I could say about the nuances of the story. As is everything written by this man, Elie Wiesel, Dawn is filled with pithy philosophically reflective moments.
I had to press the rewind button several times in the 2nd CD when the narrator was saying:
The fear of either the victim or the executioner is unimportant. What matters is the fact that each of them is playing a role which has been imposed upon him. The two roles are the extremities of the estate of man. The tragic thing is the imposition.
To me, those lines sum up the message and the tenor of this book.
Night is the first book in a trilogy -- Night, Dawn, and Day -- reflecting Wiesel's state of mind during and after the Holocaust.
I’ve read them all [mind you, back in 1994 Day was entitled The Accident].
"Not since Albert Camus has there been such an eloquent spokesman for man." --The New York Times Book Review.