NIGHT by Elie Wiesel

This book speeds by so fast. The whole process of genocide zooms by–getting their city invaded, having their neighborhood blocked off into a ghetto, then being transported to this or that concentration camp for months or years or indefinitely. It was eerie to read (reread–I read this once back in high school) that the military came to supervise the ghetto acting cool and polite at first. They moved into residences and policed the area but didn’t really start pillaging until after a few days. They settled in a bit before preparing to turn these people over to certain death.

From the beginning, everything happens in an instant, or not. A year is covered in 100 pages. Particularly miserable days take up entire chapters, but then he skips by the months between his father’s death and his own release. And Elie Wiesel was only 14. Separated from his mother and sisters. Running for dozens of miles or pushing around rocks for hours or watching people die in the wildest ways. Beaten and starved. Wiesel turns so inward that all he can think about is his body. It’s skinny, yet heavy. It seems to have a life of its own–still going when his mind can barely fathom it. He feels guilty about wishing he didn’t have to keep an eye out for his father every minute, but others tell him sharing his food with his dying father was stupid not honorable. Both of you will die if you sacrifice too much.

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