Elie Wisel (won '86 Nobel Peace Prize) a Holocaust survivor tells of the unending hell he and his father (and family) endured at the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. Only Elie makes it out alive, and surpisingly, his father lasts throughout the year, or so, of sheer torment.
The book's theme quietly hints at one of the main objections to Christianity, and probably, Judaism: how could a loving God let such tragedies occur? Elie struggles iwht this throughout. In fact, he names the book, "Night," in his reference to the fact that none of the Jews prayed (or at least his family)one evening in the ghetto, so the night would pass quickly.
Surprisingly, the forward of the book is written by a French Christian, Francois Mauriac.
The experience from life to death starts with foretellings of doom by an escapee, Moshe the Beadle, as well as a prophet on a train to the camp who can only see visions of fire. We read analogies of tired and dying rees then move to eyes with no life and most graphically, "suddenly his eyes would become blank, nothing but two open wounds, two pits of terror."
The story of the small child who was hung, along with two men, was gripping. Again, questions arose and points were made, "here can be noo God. Where is God at this hour? God is hanging in the gallows." (paraphrased)
The story also revolves around Elie's desire to always stay with his father as they moved throughout the camps, and for the most part, he did - up to the end of this father's life.
In a way, he found more rearing and companionship from his father in the camps than he ever had when his dad was leading the affairs of the community and business.
There were many turns of irony and near-misses, throughout. Elie gives up his gold crown, so his father would stop being picked on, but then in the end- it was given up for nothing. (Deportation)
Elie could have stayed in a hospital, and gotten his dad "enlisted," and they could have been freed by the Russians in a few days, but fearing "termination" they opted out. There was a point where his father did not make it through "selection," so Elie runs over to his line, and causing a stir, manages to save his own and his father's lives, while others were shot.
Not going back to the hospital was probably the worst near-miss of all, as their fate was then sealed on the deadly 40+ mile run and then freezing train journey to Buchenwald. This was only a death march, and nothing more. No food, freezing temperatures - people dropping one by one. Of the 200 people to get on the train, only 12 made it out alive, including Elie and his dad.
Many times, Elie felt he failed his father, but in a fight for survival, he did all that he physically could.
This book comprised sadness and tragedy on a monumental, yet so personal, scale.