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Open Heart

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  808 ratings  ·  152 reviews
Translated by Marion Wiesel

A profoundly and unexpectedly intimate, deeply affecting summing up of his life so far, from one of the most cherished moral voices of our time.


Eighty-two years old, facing emergency heart surgery and his own mortality, Elie Wiesel reflects back on his life. Emotions, images, faces and questions flash through his mind. His family before and durin
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Hardcover, 79 pages
Published December 4th 2012 by Knopf (first published 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,576)
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Robyn Groth
Is it some sort of blasphemy to give Elie Wiesel two stars? It just seemed like he didn't really have much to say, but he wrote a book anyway at a time when most of us would have stuck with a few diary entries.

His thoughts on mortality were not particularly profound. They seemed like the same thoughts most people would have. You're on one side of the fence or the other: "I have so much left to do," or, "I'm ready to go." He didn't seem to take a strong stance for or against anything with regard
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Claire
"I know- I speak from experience- that even in the darkness it is possible to create light and encourage compassion. That it is possible to feel free inside a prison. That even in exile, friendship exists and can become an anchor. That there is one instant before dying, man is still immortal." --Elie Wiesel

"There it is: I still believe in man in spite of man. I believe in language even though it has been wounded, deformed and perverted by the enemies of mankind. And I continue to cling to words
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Matt
With my wife having gone through open heart surgery not long after the birth of our first daughter, I originally bought this for her to read. However, being a great admirer of Wiesel and the work he has done in his life, i read it immediately after she was finished with it.

I've read several reviews from others who focus only on the fact that Wiesel, even in this book, continues to carry a grief that he does not want to let go of. Anyone who has not experienced even an iota of what he and millio
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Melissa
With all that Elie Wiesel has lived through,and with all the horrors of life that he has experienced firsthand, one might assume (as I erroneously did) that he would be all right - at peace, even - with the possibility of dying.

You would be wrong.

"Long ago, over there, death lay in wait for us at every moment, but it is now, eternities later, that it shall have its way. I feel it." (pg. 17)

"Hadn't I lived with death, even in death? Why should I be afraid now? Yet, this is not how I imagined my e
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Marisa Bennett
Short read. Five starts? I admit I am very prejudiced when it comes to Wiesel as he is a monumental influence in my life. There is just one section I will discuss so as not ruin the memoir for you. This is one of the few times I have wanted to write an author, and the only time I want to write to reassure the author. Wiesel questions whether he should have been so brutally honest in the book, "Night." He admits to struggling with this question for years. That book, although at first devastating ...more
Diane S.
My daughter recently saw Elie Wiesel at the Civic Opera house in Chicago and said she cried through the whole thing. That he was just so honest, caring and sweet. This book definitely reflects all of that, his honesty shows through, his love for his son and wife, his faith and the coming to terms with his past. Facing death impels one to re-examine everything in their lives. He remembers his past, his father, all the trials he and his wife had faced together and knows their are still things he w ...more
Carla
a one sit read. very touching, very inspiring, very sad yet offers hope knowing all that he's been through he's still able to find the light at the end of the tunnel. he does an amazing job of reminding readers of what is really important in life as well as on the operating table. i love this man and his values, his ethics, his genuine compassion for the entire universe. it was a nice read to remind me of the power of gratitude and how i intend to bring in my new year.
Debbie
I thought that Mark Bramhall could read his grocery list and make it interesting; I still do. Bramhall reads the audiobook version of Elie Wiesel's essay on introspection following open heart surgery. As a Christian, I lack enough knowledge to grasp the full impact of many of the Jewish customs that are part of this essay, but with Bramhall's rich voice the listener is carried through and feels all the emotions that Wiesel recalls and explores. In the end, any listener is thankful that this wond ...more
Zach Whitney
I liked this book. I typically prefer narratives, and I think that is why I only liked this book. Having spent a lengthy period of time in a hospital myself there were lots of things said that I could relate to. But, most importantly I love what this man has to say.
I love that his propensity to ask questions. Someone with faith like his, who has experienced such persecution as him, it seems answers would be definite. But, they're not, and that is comforting to anyone who struggles with sentiment
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Tracy
This was a quick and interesting read. Elie Wiesel's "Night" had such a profound impact on my life, so I was more than willing to read something else written by this inspiring man. This short book is about him reflecting on life before and after open heart surgery. Wiesel has such a simple and honest way with words that is so beautiful. As he reflects on his life it was interesting to hear about all of the things that he has accomplished since his experience in several Nazi concentration camps. ...more
Michael Stanfield
I feel badly about giving Elie Wiesel's work only two stars, but this is not one of his better works. Reflections about his open heart surgery and reflections about his life in response to the open heart surgery, the book is lacking. While it has quotable moments and valid points; the exploration, depth, and history are not included that might make it more interesting. It is just barely "ok" and, if it were any longer, I probably would have rated it lower. The brevity makes it manageable.

I would
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Melissa Mannon
I hate to give two stars to anything Wiesel does, but this book didn't hit the mark for me. The text includes the musings of a man faced with possible death due to open heart surgery. It was a quick read that jumped from the hospital room and loved ones by Wiesel's bedside to memories of a lifetime. Wiesel contemplates his relationship with God, his writings, and other times he suffered. He reflects on whether he fulfilled any duty he had as a survivor. While this is all worth addressing, the in ...more
Courtney
This is what breaks my heart: "[I]n my combat against hatred, which I wished to be unrelenting, did I in fact invest enough time, enough energy, in denouncing fanaticism in its various guises? Evidently not, since all of us who have fought the battle must now admit defeat. At the time of the liberation of the camps, I remember, we were convinced that after Auschwitz there would be no more wars, no more racism, no more hatred, no more anti-Semitism. W were wrong. This produced a feeling close to ...more
Jason
Elie Wiesel is about the only writer that whenever I read him I wonder why I bother writing.

"If life is not a celebration, why remember it? If life--mine or that of my fellow man--is not an offering to the other, what are we doing on this earth?"
Nichole
A slim book that can be read in one sitting. It is interesting to hear his feelings on mortality with his history. A surprise open-heart surgery prompts this writing.
Cathie
Fast read. I wanted more, but I love this man. I would recommend reading Night before reading this book so you have more background on what he has endured in his life.
Z
Elie Wiesel is a great writer. His words are captivating and one finds herself fully immersed in this work in a short time.

So yes, this book accomplishes its goal of creating an intriguing memoir and genuine look inside the mind and heart of Wiesel during a close encounter with death.

However, my complaint lies in the actual content of the book itself, mainly the beliefs of Elie Wiesel. He harbors a blindly religious obedience to Judaism and God and the "coming of the messiah." All of his morals
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Luis
Elie Wiesel never smiles, he carries a great burden in his heart that he cannot and does not want to get rid of. In his eyes I can see an eternal sadness that this human world will never relieve. And yet, he still wants to live. It is difficult to understand why a man who has seen the worst of humanity, the worst violence, atrocities and apathy, worst of all, the indifference of people, would be so resistant to the deliverance of death, but instead would want to live, and live with passion! I sa ...more
Leslie
In June of 2011, author, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize honoree Elie Wiesel learned that he was in imminent danger of a heart attack and that he would need emergency open-heart surgery. Open Heart is his account of the experience.

In this short but beautiful book, Wiesel recounts not only the surgery itself and its aftermath, but the memories, questions and doubts that assail him as he faces his own mortality. He thinks of his family, both those he has lost and those who surround him and supp
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Alyson Farmer
I love book club choices that are quick reads. This particular book took about an hour to read. That was nice.

This is a self-reflective book by the author of Night while he is preparing to and recovering from open heart surgery. It was an easy read and lent itself to a good discussion.

A quote from the book that stood out to me was, "At the time of the liberation of the camps, I remember, we were convinced that after Auschwitz there would be no more wars, no racism, no more hatred, no more anti-
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La Stamberga dei Lettori
Giugno 2011. Dolori intensi al petto, ma la causa non è il solito, fastidiosissimo reflusso esofageo che lo tormenta da tempo. Sottoposto ad endoscopia, la causa della sofferenza è presto individuata: si tratta del cuore. Responso spiazzante. Elie Wiesel, uno dei più illustri testimoni del nostro tempo, autore di circa 60 opere, dev’essere ricoverato d’urgenza all’Ospedale Lenox Hill di New York per sottoporsi ad un delicato intervento chirurgico. Sulle prime è recalcitrante. Con l’amata moglie ...more
Brigid Martin
A quick but profound read. Most of my highlights came at the end of the book. It's hard to imagine a man as accomplished as Wiesel being fearful of death and wondering if he has done enough with his life. That is a humbling and unifying thought - perfectly human! I especially love when he talks about his practice of faith being a testament to his ancestors. I very much connect with his perspective there. Two hours of reading but many existential thoughts to ponder...
Keith Lane
Wiesel's Night is among the most staggering books I've read. (And one should read Night before all else that Wiesel has written.) Thirty years later I've read this short work. The thought here steps beyond Night in that Wiesel seems more reconciled to life, to God. In what seems to be the end (or at least in thoughts that reflect on end things) he is lead first and finally to family--past and present. Beautiful and challenging and affirming all at the same time.
Chelsie
I absolutely love this book. It's about Mr. Wiesel having open heart surgery and his life flashing before his eyes. Asking himself has he done enough, helped enough, wrote enough, and even loved enough. Books like this make you want to do more with your life. It really inspired me. The amazing thing is I read this book 3 years later to the day he was going to have the surgery done. Very inspirational author. Amazing book.
Crystalee Beck
A profound philosopher and writer, Elie Wiesel makes this brief book one worth reading. Although a lot of the Jewish references went over my head, I appreciated learning of Weisel's dedication to his beliefs. My favorite part is Chapter 25, where he makes some of his final declarations, such as, "I still believe in man, in spite of man." He's a remarkable human being, one I'd like to learn more about.
Rebecca Jones
I remember writing a book report on one of his books. So touching and incomprehensible in the acceptance that i couldn't reconcile with. Now I feel as if I understand on some level. Though I realize the grandiosity of that claim. This introspective book revealed much and it captured a glimpse of the actual man. Though I don't agree with his precise philosophy I deeply respect him and his work.
Sara Hoeppner
Of course, anything by Elie Wiesel is going to be amazing, but there wasn't much substance to this one. Elie is 82 years old when he writes this novel as he ponders life before and after open heart surgery - has he done enough? He references several of his other works throughout this novel as he relives the choices he made in his life.

This is a simple, one-afternoon read.
Laura Siegel
This book is Wiesel's experience with open heart surgery but also a deep soul searching. My husband, who also had bypass surgery and counsels heart patients, says that Wiesel's story is not typical and would he not recommend this memoir for heart surgery candidates. But Wiesel had a way of looking deeply into his soul that is mesmerizing.

Wiesel struggles with a world where cruelty is still rampant, where we have not learned, where no matter what he does he cannot affect global change. Perhaps t
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Ashley
This slim book of end-of-life reflections doesn't hold a candle to All Rivers Run to the Sea, but it does contain some gems.

Wiesel is another migraine sufferer, and there is an interesting detail on page 55: when he was a concentration camp prisoner, his headaches stopped. They began again the morning of his liberation when he arrived in France. Anecdotal evidence for diet --> headaches.

A little doctor humor on page 58:
Wiesel is describing his various aches and pains (some of them rather ser
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Jennifer Hughes
Elie Wiesel revisits topics of the meaning of life, death, suffering and God as he prepares for open-heart surgery. I liked the metaphor of the literal physical open heart and the way that he examines his spiritual heart under a magnifying glass for the reader. This is a very short book and easy to read quickly.

While there is not really any new information here, for me it was a nice epilogue to the very bleak Night. I see his growth in his journey in the elapsed time since he wrote that, and I e
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La Stamberga dei ...: A cuore aperto di Elie Wiesel 1 3 Feb 14, 2013 01:48PM  
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Eliezer Wiesel is a Romania-born American novelist, political activist, and Holocaust survivor of Hungarian Jewish descent. He is the author of over 40 books, the best known of which is Night, a memoir that describes his experiences during the Holocaust and his imprisonment in several concentration camps.

Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. The Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a "
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More about Elie Wiesel...
Night (The Night Trilogy, #1) Dawn (The Night Trilogy, #2) Day (The Night Trilogy, #3) The Night Trilogy: Night/Dawn/The Accident All Rivers Run to the Sea

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“I still believe in man in spite of man. I believe in language even though it has been wounded, deformed, and perverted by the enemies of mankind. And I continue to cling to words because it is up to us to transform them into instruments of comprehension rather than contempt. It is up to us to choose whether we wish to use them to curse or to heal, to wound or to console.” 24 likes
“Even in darkness it is possible to create light and encourage compassion. That it is possible to feel free inside a prison. That even in exile, friendship exists and can become an anchor. That one instant before dying, man is still immortal.” 17 likes
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