Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Asks Oprah, harbinger of insight: "Why didn't you go insane?"
Night is the new Oprah Book Club pick. Right after James "Pants-On-Fire" Frey. It's not that I don't want my favorite book to be appreciated by millions of people. It's not that I don't want to share my beloved Elie. It's not that. Maybe I want everyone to read the whole trilogy, Night, Dawn, and Day (or The Accident), as well as Rollo May, Viktor Frankl, Primo Levi, and Kurt Vonnegut. Night weighs in at a scan 128 pages. Albeit, 128 very dense pages. I think Oprah should have assigned the whole Triology.
Dawn takes place in one night, as a survivor of Auschwitz is living as a terrorist in British-controlled Palestine after the war. He is given the task of killing a prisoner at sunrise if the demands of the Jewish terrorist gang he is a part of are not met. He ruminates on the nature of his task for the hours approaching dawn.
The Accident is also about a man who has survived the Holocaust. He is walking in Times Square and is hit by a cab, and nearly dies. He is bedridden and drifts in and out of dreams, wondering always how it is possible to move forward in life when such an anvil of suffering has crushed not only your past, but your very ideas of human nature.
Nowhere in this world is there more knowledge of, experience with, and dissection of the glorious highs and depraved lows of human nature than in the accounts of people who survived the holocaust. I wish Oprah would assign all these books.
I don't mean to have sour grapes. It's just that when I was in Eckerd yesterday, I saw Night for sale on the same rack with the Nora Roberts books. That made me feel weird inside.