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A Mad Desire to Dance: A Novel

3.18 of 5 stars 3.18  ·  rating details  ·  616 ratings  ·  125 reviews
Now in paperback, Wiesel’s newest novel “reminds us, with force, that his writing is alive and strong. The master has once again found a startling freshness.”—Le Monde des Livres

A European expatriate living in New York, Doriel suffers from a profound sense of desperation and loss. His mother, a member of the Resistance, survived World War II only to die soon after in Fran
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Schocken (first published February 17th 2006)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.5* of five

Like any other Wiesel book, this is well worth reading. Don't be put off by the philosophy-student-at-2am first 50pp. Chapter 3, starting on p51, begins a different phase of the book and it's a much less claustrophobic experience after that.

Wiesel is justly famous for the memoir "Night". He's not a novelist, frankly, and a less talented writer would have turned this same story into the literary equivalent of waterboarding. Things like, "At times, in an involuntary and unpredi
I made a drastic decision with this one: I stopped reading and tossed it aside.
Now, that's something I usually don't do. Even if I don't like a novel, I seem to find the stamina to push through.
I just couldn't go on with this one. There's nothing that appeals to me. At. All.

During my read I hit a wall, three times. I paused my reading, and read another book, just to get going again.
Today I returned to the book for a fourth time. Determined to push it to end.
After some 20 pages, every joy I find
That was one weird book. The story of a self-proclaimed "madman", told mostly through his rambling stream-of-conscious therapy sessions, I had no idea what was going on for the first 100 pages or so, and even once I started to understand the plot, I found it hard to figure out the chronology as it skipped around so much. There was also way to much about his inner struggle with his Jewish faith, as I, as a non-Jew, had no idea what he was talking about. In the end, I found some chapters that were ...more
Ok so I was expecting something different than what I got. What I got was yet ANOTHER going on and on about how a mother's avocation should have been been her vocation and how that screwed up her son. I know that is NOT what this book was about. I would be better off with a book written about Doriel's mother as that is subject matter, I am interested in. The women of the Resistance. And Dr. Thérèse Goldschmidt was slightly annoying in constantly thinking her patient was falling for her, really? ...more
I had a hard time with this book. I listened to the audio book while working on projects around the house. I feel that if I had started reading the book, I would never have finished it.

The story deals with some very deep and troubling issues. This fact together with a discontinuous time-line and a narrator who is a professed madman made this a difficult story. The story is based around the relationship that develops between the narrator (currently in his 60's)and his therapist. I found the relat
A Mad Desire to Dance by Elie Wiesel is one of those "I know I should really like this, but I don't" novels. You know the kind. It just hangs out on the book shelf, the great name of its author exuding an ethereal glow, biding its time until its dark powers of persuasion ensnare you. Wiesel had garnered my attention through his memior Night. While I had no misconceptions about A Mad Desire to Dance being a totally different work and fiction at that, I had no way of knowing that I had perhaps sel ...more
Camille Mccarthy
This book follows the psychoanalysis of a Jewish survivor of World War II Poland whose family was killed in the war and who is convinced he is mad. While the analyst finds him a troubling patient because he resists letting her explore his memories, he also is so lucid that it's hard for him to seem really insane to the analyst despite his troubled mind. I found it an interesting journey through the main character's memory and the ending was very hopeful and shows that a lot of the time, one's pr ...more
"...if surprises didn't exist, life would be nothing more than a bad novel about mediocrity." (p. 37)

Elie Wiesel does a great job taking you through the inter-workings of Doriel's (the main character) mind. Readers then have the pleasure of seeing Doriel through the eyes of his psychiatrist, Therese Goldschmidt, as she follows along on this journey in an effort to cure Doriel of his self proclaimed "madness." All the while, I, as the reader, found myself on a journey through my mind and past on
Lydia Presley
I've spent an hour or so trying to figure out how the review for this book should go.

My rating is not based on the literary quality of the book. It's based on how the book made me feel. While parts were thought-provoking, the majority of the book dragged my spirits down so low that just reading it put me in a perpetually bad mood.

The only redeeming parts of the book were from the therapist's point of view, but even then the feeling of helplessness and waste was overwhelming.

It's not an easy read
Nick Johnston

If you are a high level book reader I recommend this book for you. But if you are a reader looking for a good fun read, this book would not be the book for you. This book is not for those who are not serious readers, and who does not read on your free time.
This book is about a man named Doriel who is completely mad. His whole family, parents sister and one brother are all killed during World War. Because of this a dybbuk ends up overruling his body. This is why he goes mad. To try to cure this
I had hoped for more, after all that soul searching. I did not find this book profound or uplifting, but tiring and discouraging- demoralizing. The first 100 pages were so hard to get through, afterward it became easier, but the author seemed to go in circles. Most of the time I had no idea what he was trying to say or where he was going. I had a hard time feeling any connection with the main character- despite all the tragedy he lived through, I never felt emotionally connected.
Tammy Chiang
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
a little odd...have put it down for now but would like to finish it--will give it one more chance, since I love Elie Wiesel so much.
ok...had to put this book down. Way to depressing. I can understand how Doriel's life had led him tot his point, but real life has enough sadness, so I don't need to get this kind of depression from a novel. LOVE Wiesel but not this book.
Lauren Albert
Sadly disappointing. There was almost no plot (one entered at the very end when it was too late to redeem the book). The patient-narrator's insanity came across more like an intellectual's idea of madness than an actual mental illness. The psychoanalyst's sections (her emotional "struggles") were just not believable to me.
I don't know if I should actually give this a rating since I did not actually finish the book... I barely started it. But I just can NOT wade through it, and after I realized that I had skimmed 50 pages without absorbing much, I put the book down. I'm sure the book is very good for some people, but I am just not one of them.
Sorry Wiesel, I just couldn't stick with it. I'm sure it's lovely...somehow, but the first 1/8th was a little painful. Get into it. Give me something! The jacket promises a surprising Dénouement, but I needed a little more sense in the exposition.
Alicia Wilson
The book starts off slow and sporadic, with the narrator quickly switching between topics. It doesn't take long to get used to the writing style and I quickly became engrossed in the story. Doriel, an elderly Jewish man, has sought out the help of a psychoanalyst in order to learn the source of his self proclaimed "madness". He discusses his childhood during the Holocaust, the deaths of his family members, and the his relationships both platonic and romantic.

The main idea behind his so called "m
Absolutely horrible. On page 17 and I can't even continue. How is he a Nobel prize winning author?
Glen Moss
I was pleasantly surprised by this book considering the abysmal failure of the book I read before this one. This book, like the one I read before it, looks at the life of the main character. It was originally written in French so the narrative style is a little different than some readers might expect but it does not take long to adjust.

The main character is a child of Jewish rebels fighting the Nazis during World War II. The story itself is narrated though a series of therapy sessions with a ps
Jsem nadšená! Jedna z nejlepších knih, co jsem četla. Ze začátku jsem si chtěla zatrhávat všechny zajímavé "hlášky". Po pár stránkách jsem zjistila, že bych si musela zatrhávat každý odstavec!
Prolínání osudů a neštěstí židů - příbuzných Doriela, ty jeho obludné představy, které ho pronásledují a snaha o terapii ... Četla jsem ji jedním dechem. Úžasná kniha, tak nějak jiná od těch ostatních. Jsem ráda, že ji mám :)

...Jenomže kdo říká, že vina a šílenství jsou, nebo nejsou slučitelné? A kdo si můž
I really didn't care for this book. In fact, I haven't cared for Wiesel's last two books. I loved Night and Dawn, but the others are paltry compared to these two.

I understand that a person who lives and suffers through something like the Holocaust probably never gets over it and spends his entire life trying to work through it. Writing Night was a cathartic experience for Wiesel, but this book is a repeat of all he has written of in the past. And Wiesel comes across angry and bitter in this book
I will always remember seeing Elie Wiesel speak in person when I was at university. For a Holocaust survivor, he was remarkably filled with the essence of hope in the human spirit. He had a sense of the world that was baffling from where I sat after what he had been through but there was a definite wholehearted wisdom there that I wanted to believe in.

The main character of this novel, Doriel, is not a Holocaust survivor himself but was a child and lived through being hid and then after having to
Bookmarks Magazine

"Wiesel's is among the truly great lives of the 20th century, his very presence an inspiration to many and a reminder of the enormous power of the word to combat injustice and evil," notes the San Francisco Chronicle. But in the eyes of this critic and others, Wiesel's latest novel doesn't measure up to his stature. About half praised Wiesel's portrayal of Doriel's deep angst and impressive knowledge of philosophy and ethics, Judaism, and politics; others commended the memorable characters and i

After reading "Night" Sophomore year in high school (now I am currently a Sophomore in college)I loved the way it was written. I've always wanted to read more from Wiesel;however, I only made it to page 43 of "A Mad Desire to Dance." For me this book was difficult for me to understand and quite frankly, it put me to sleep. I feel horrible that I am reviewing a book that I did not finish. I am not telling anyone not to read it, I am just giving my experience.
Wiesel, with his masterful writing skills, has done it again, with a book that is extremely complex, dealing with the primary theme of “madness”, otherwise termed as insanity, depression, melancholia, mania, schizophrenia, and illness.

It is not an easy read, and often seems disjointed. That is due to the fact that Doriel Waldman, the primary character, is suffering from what he defines as “madness”, and is jumping back and forth, from one scenario to another in almost manic fashion, while relay
Jeff Turner
Madness, faith, therapy, The Holocaust, aging and loss of family form the backdrop for this novel that is as challenging as the subjects it covers. Doriel's character is a complex mystery you are tempted to think could never be penetrated, which is just the way anyone who has suffered (and isn't that all of us?) should be portrayed. This is much heavier than most of the books I read, but thoroughly rewarding.
Lauren Dostal
Apparently a lot of people didn't like this book, which is mind boggling to me. I picked it up and couldn't put it down. It is the most underlined book in my collection, and I often pick it back up just to read through some of the quotes.

The style is sporadic, ala The Sound and the Fury, and there isn't much plot. It is definitely a book you read for character and ideas, not for story, but as long as you start with that expectation, this read is a beautiful experience.

I have just finished readin
Amanda Miller
Unfortunately, I could not finish this book. I made it a bit more than halfway through, and it was difficult to do that. I love Elie Wiesel's other works. This did not pull through for me. I give it two stars instead of one simply because I know he can do much better.
While I very much enjoyed readng this novel of madness and self-discovery, I'm not sure that I see the point. The protagonist, Doriel, has various reasons for his alleged madness (among them his cousin, the death of his parents, religious confusion, and possible more intelligence than he knows what to do with), but the "solution" is almost too simple. Falling into a typical and predictable Freduian scenario, Doriel's relationship with his psychotherapist becomes toxic but he finds a final refuge ...more
Elie Wiesel's writing style for this book is very unusual. I'm afraid that for me it distracted from the message of the story. I can imagine that for people that find this style interesting, and who have more patience in working through the prose, that they will get much more out of the story.
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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 "
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 Open Heart

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