Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sonderberg Case” as Want to Read:
The Sonderberg Case
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sonderberg Case

3.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  394 Ratings  ·  76 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
Hardcover, 178 pages
Published August 24th 2010 by Knopf (first published September 3rd 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sonderberg Case, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Sonderberg Case

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 873)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 09, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
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
Jim B
May 16, 2014 Jim B rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 14, 2010 Vegantrav rated it it was amazing
I love books that really engage me psychologically and philosophically, and this book by Elie Wiesel does just that

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
Nov 17, 2011 Melissa rated it did not like it
Shelves: library, fiction
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
Διόνυσος Ψευδάνωρ
As many have been, I was deeply moved by Wiesel's most famous book, Night. However, The Sonderberg Case does not favorably compare. Somewhat surprisingly, Sonderberg's case does not play as significant a role in this work as this work's title could make one believe that it would. The question that seems to be raised by this "case" is the question of one's guilt. Werner Sonderberg does, after all, announce in a preliminary hearing that he is both "guilty and not guilty" of his "uncle's" death. ...more
Feb 07, 2011 Monique rated it it was ok
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.
Oct 19, 2013 Robert rated it it was ok
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

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
Caedy  Eries
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
May 08, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it
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
Gabi Smith
Aug 20, 2012 Gabi Smith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Haley Wood
May 08, 2012 Haley Wood rated it really liked it
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
Jan 25, 2016 B rated it really liked it
It is always interesting to me how I come to read a certain book. They arrive in seemingly random ways but quite frequently, they are timely. This book, certainly well written, has such a story to tell and I found it, at every turn, to be a mirror of the rising up of hate in America. This book is a very valuable lesson in history and how it repeats itself.
Mar 15, 2014 Mariah rated it liked it
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.
Jul 01, 2011 Ellen rated it it was amazing
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
Feisty Harriet
Oct 19, 2015 Feisty Harriet rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii
The prose in this book is beautiful, but at times it was a little too disjointed for me, the bouncing from character to character and time period to time period. That being said, towards the end, Werner Sonderberg--accused murderer--gives one of the most glorious speeches on right and wrong that I've ever read. That alone is enough of a reason to read this (quite short) book.
Mar 16, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 30, 2012 Kirsten rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
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
Apr 10, 2015 Jeff rated it really liked it
Enjoyable but sad, it explores our destiny and origins - and how we can do nothing about either of them. IThis one will stay with me and I may come back and give it the last star after some reflection.
Feb 06, 2014 Nikki rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 18, 2016 Sanchita rated it really liked it
Interesting reflections on philosophy, theatre and the role of the perpetrators in the Holocaust. Not a bad read, but not nearly as good as "Night".
Brian Dahlvig
Apr 15, 2016 Brian Dahlvig rated it did not like it
Meh, I supposed I shouldn't rate it since I didn't finish it, but everything screamed fun little trial/murder romp which it definitely not was.
Jun 25, 2015 Cynthia rated it liked it
Interesting premise, but rather convoluted to the point where I'd keep forgetting if this was a first person or third person narrative.
Jan 06, 2013 Amy rated it it was ok
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
Mar 19, 2014 susanna meacham rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 26, 2011 Renee rated it really liked it
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
May 28, 2014 Margrit Belfi rated it it was amazing
Heel mooi
Het laatste deel is erg gevoelig en bewogen,zo herkenbaar
Laurent Szklarz
Petit livre qui résonne au plus profond de l’âme
Jan 20, 2015 Anna rated it liked it
i surprisingly didn't find it very well written
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 29 30 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Devil's Dream
  • Your Sad Eyes and Unforgettable Mouth
  • Promise Bridge
  • House of Ghosts
  • The Street Philosopher
  • Beautiful Maria of My Soul
  • Two Trains Running
  • The Debba
  • Gratitude
  • Transgression
  • Northfield
  • The Case of the Golddigger's Purse
  • The Hangman in the Mirror
  • The Illusion
  • Etta
  • Francesca of Lost Nation
  • The Abyssinian Proof (Kamil Pasha, #2)
  • Knights of the Cross (Demetrios Askiates, #2)
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...

Share This Book