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The Sonderberg Case

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3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  310 ratings  ·  66 reviews
From the Nobel laureate and author of the masterly Night, a deeply felt, beautifully written novel of morality, guilt, and innocence.

Despite personal success, Yedidyah—a theater critic in New York City, husband to a stage actress, father to two sons—finds himself increasingly drawn to the past. As he reflects on his life and the decisions he’s made, he longingly reminisces...more
Hardcover, 178 pages
Published August 24th 2010 by Knopf (first published 2008)
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Elizabeth
Oct 09, 2010 Elizabeth rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Elizabeth by: New York Times
It does not feel right to give an Elie Weisel book two stars. I do so with a heavy heart!

This was an uneven read that was too slim of a novel for the scope of the story and plot. I just needed more (i.e. Why was Yedidyah's wife so completely undone by his assignment to cover the trial?). Riddle me that.

That being said, there were parts of this book that were complex and moving. Elie Weisel is at his best when he is exploring the moral implications of war on its survivors. Unfortunately in this...more
Jim B
This is not a book for people who want an action packed, plot driven story. Think of this as sipping brandy, savoring and reflecting on the components of what you are tasting. A lot of food for thought, especially for someone interested in pondering moral issues.

When I was a younger reader, I read a lot of holocaust literature, starting with the Diary of Anne Frank -- so much so that I finally determined that I would consciously avoid books about it, because I wanted to think about other issues...more
Vegantrav
I love books that really engage me psychologically and philosophically, and this book by Elie Wiesel does just that

****SPOILER ALERT****
in the latter part of this book, the title character, Werner Sonderberg, argues with his grandfather, Hans, about Hans's past as a Nazi

Hans had been an SS officer who killed Jews; in fact, he commanded a group of SS soldiers whose primary goal was to facilitate the killing of Jews

yet Hans is not ashamed of his past; he boldly states that he has no regrets, no re...more
Melissa
I have the utmost respect and admiration for Elie Wiesel. I do. And I'm embarrassed to say that up until now, I've never read any of his books. Not even Night.

(Although, my embarrassment on not reading Night is probably not as great as the embarrassment of a certain former college president of my alma mater who, upon introducing Mr. Wiesel as a keynote speaker during an event, REFERRED TO WIESEL'S BOOK NIGHT AS A WORK OF FICTION! I kid you not. Mr. Wiesel himself kindly but firmly set this ding...more
Monique
I have admired previous Wiesel books, but this one misses the mark. Way too many life lessons, philosophical questions, ethical dilemmas piled on. Way, way too many questions; pick a random page and count the question marks-5,10,15. It became really irritating. The plot needs either to be tightened or expanded and some of the characters serve no purpose. Huge disappointment.
Robert
Elie Wiesel’s novel, The Sonderberg Case, moves in fits and starts between fiction and rumination rooted in Jewish theology and story-telling. At times it seems to be genuinely post-modern in its self-reflexive irony and stubborn air of mystery. The narrator is Yedidyah who writes alternately in the first and third person with no apparent justification for the switch. He’s a theater critic--because his prospects as an actor were dim-- when suddenly he’s asked to fill in for his newspaper’s court...more
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
Couple of weeks back, I went to the library to pick a book from the new books shelf, but found it suddenly unavailable. Which was good because I found this book instead - The Sonderberg Case by Elie Wiesel. I still have Elie Wiesel's Night sitting on my shelf, and I really want to read it - I promise, except I'm not sure what I'm waiting for. Night is a slim book, but if The Sonderberg Case is any indication, I'm sure it also packs in a whopping punch! Since I had no idea regarding what this boo...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Sonderberg Case, by Elie Wiesel, narrated by Mark Bramhall, produced by Random House Audio, downloaded from audible.com.

The protagonist in this book is a journalist who gets involved in a trial when he is asked to cover it for the paper. Sonderberg is accused of killing his uncle. He and his uncle went out for a walk and only Sonderberg returned. The uncle’s lifeless body was later found crumpled at the bottom of a cliff. The protagonist is trying to come to grips with not ever having known...more
Martha D
Title: The Sonderberg Case
Author: Elie Wiesel
Rating: 4/5

Summary: Despite personal success, Yedidyah—a theater critic in New York City, husband to a stage actress, father to two sons—finds himself increasingly drawn to the past. As he reflects on his life and the decisions he’s made, he longingly reminisces about the relationships he once had with the men in his family (his father, his uncle, his grandfather) and the questions that remain unanswered. It’s a feeling that is further complicated whe...more
Katie
May 08, 2013 Katie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
The Sonderburg Case: A journalist, Yedidyah Wasserman, begins covering a strange case in which the elderly uncle of a young man is found dead. The young man, Werner Sonderburg, is accused of murder, and he claims that he is both guilty and not guilty. As Wasserman covers the case, he is forced to look back on his history and trace his own personal journey.
I found the Jewish/German relationships here very compelling. I also was extremely interested in the conversation between Sonderberg and the d...more
Gabi Smith
When I first read Night by Elie Wiesel, I never knew how much it would affect me. I felt truly changed after reading it. That being said, I didn't expect a life-changing experience from The Sonderberg Case, but I at least expected a good book.

The Sonderberg Case met, if not exceeded, my expectations. I was hooked and interested until the very last page. It is a novel about how a murder trial and its surrounding events changed the life of a theater critic named Yedidyah.

One thing I liked about...more
Haley Wood
This book is fragmented and beautiful. Wiesel's words made me feel so much even as they said so little. It can be frustrating at times in it's fragmentation, but this is one of those cases where the destination justifies the journey. The Sonderberg Case is firstly a book about family. About the blood and conversely the love that ties us to the people in our lives. Some are unfairly torn away from us while others bring new life into our everyday.

Anyone who knows anything about Wiesel knows that...more
Mariah
I'd give this 2 1/2 if I could. Some parts I really loved--as insightful and quotable as Kundera without all the explicit stuff, so that was great. But the plot, such as it was, felt like a really weak vehicle to hang together the philosophical musings Wiesel wanted to undertake here.
Ellen
Jul 01, 2011 Ellen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery lovers; Wiesel fans; those who are interested in the Holocaust and Jewish literature
A short, but powerful book by the inimitable Elie Wiesel. A theater critic, Yedidyah, is assigned by his boss to fill in for another reporter and write articles about the Sonderberg case, in which a young German man is on trial for murdering his uncle. When asked his plea, Sonderberg says, "Guilty and not guilty", which throw the court for a loop. But the book isn't really about the trial; rather it's about Yedidyah learning more about his real family background, and discovering along the way wh...more
Michael
Wow, first Weisel book I've read, and I'll be coming back for more. I don't really totally understand what I read as a story, but it wrestles with some intense issues.

The heart of the book is whether it's possible to make a "guilty and not guilty" plea when accused of a crime. The judge argues you can't but sometimes you wonder if it's possible even to plead guilty or not guilty. Ambiguity exists in this world, and Weisel helps to engage that fact and draw it out. Whether you committed a crime...more
Kirsten
This is my introduction into Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize winning author of Night.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It started out good, sort of drifted down to "okay" halfway through and then by the end I was just hoping it was going to be done. There really isn't much of a story or plot as most of the book is just an introspective history of both Werner Sonderberg and Yedidyah Wasserman, individually.

Aside from all that, I enjoyed Wiesel's writing style and will be picking up Night in the ne...more
Nikki
I love Elie Wiesel. I enjoyed this book but have to admit that the story built slowly enough that it took awhile to really get into it. I'd likely give it 3.5 stars, if that were an option.
Amy
absolutely loved Night and thought I'd love this book, but sadly it's not to be the case. Maybe it was because I carried this book around for months, hence a lot of stopping and starting. To me though, it was pretty tedious as the trial went on. It also shuffled back and forth between the trial and recollections of his family making it hard to follow at times. It got more interesting in the last 50 pages or so when he started to delve into his childhood a little more with his therapist and what...more
susanna meacham
I love books that make me think. Wiesel is one of my favorite authors. His rich story telling and thought provoking characters are wonderful to get lost in.
Renee
The story is told by Yedidyah Wasserman who is a New York theater critic and whose eclectic editor and boss assigns him to report on a highly publicized murder trial as if he were reviewing a play at the theater. The defendant, an hauntingly self-possessed young German named Werner Sonderberg, is accused of killing his uncle. Sonderberg's plea — "guilty and not guilty" is examined at an entirely different level and emotion at the very end of the book than when the plea was initially made in the...more
Margrit Belfi
Heel mooi
Het laatste deel is erg gevoelig en bewogen,zo herkenbaar
Michael Jenkins
I thought this book was very dull,it lacked the emotion that I thought it would have,judging by the synopsis. The characters were almost forgettable, between Yedidzah career path as a theater critic and him longing for the men that helped him, it was not anything to be excited. I understand what the author was trying to convey when there is a lifeless body found I was expecting something amazing but to no avail, it has grown stale. This was not what I expected,now I am going to have second thoug...more
Nancy
This is an interesting book, that takes on the task of searching the memories and the guilts surround the holocaust of World War II. The main character is a young man, who learns his parents aren't his real parents, and that he was saved, and taken away from his family. He strives to learn what he can remember about his past life, and to find out as much as he can about his family. He learns about the guilt of the generations after the holocaust by the off spring of an SS Officer, who has no reg...more
Philip
"One way or the other, eternity is contained in the instant that vanishes."
Judith
The Sonderberg Case by Elie Wiesel ponders family, memory, guilt, and sociopathy in this meandering mystery. A failed actor becomes a successful critic and journalist. Covering a court case with provocative daily reports on the proceedings, he reflects that the whole truth was never told, never understood. Years later, the defendant seeks him out to tell him the rest of the story.
Suzanne Macartney
The premise drew me in. A writer has extactly the life he sought and yet experiences an identity crisis. I've not read Elie Wiesel before but I understand the thoughtful introspection and moral quandries found here are typical of him. The novel is a bit somber and did not go in the direction I expected. But I enjoyed the reading even if a bit darker than I signed-up for.
Virginia
I almost didn't like this book. I was nearing the halfway point and I felt adrift. The very next chapter had a reveal that changed the perspective of the main character, and that new perspective changed everything. I was riveted for the rest of the book, and I think eventually I will read it again. I recommend it only to those who are willing to be patient.
Pamela
His writing style really bothers me---all the questions. Plus, the plot is seems lacking--or beside the point. However, the strength was the theme of guilt inherited by German generations after WWII and the sense of thwarted purpose STILL felt by the elder Sonderberg. A deeper exploration of these conflicting emotions would have served the book better.
Cathy Ruehe
I think this is the first Elie Wiesel book I've read. Thought provoking. Interesting premise. Full of literary and philosophical references to illustrious writers (none that I've read). So, I felt a little out of my comfort zone. I did like the way his thoughts were so BIG, Are all his books like this? Heavy with deep meaning and moral dilemnas?
Laura
The main character is a young man who wanted to be an actor, discovers his talent for writing will be to write theatre reviews, ends up covering the Sonderberg trial, in which a man is accused of murdering his uncle, a former Nazi. The book is a psychological portrayal of man's quest for identity, purpose, and meaning. Highly recommendable!
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1049
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
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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