Ptreick's Reviews > Dawn

Dawn by Elie Wiesel
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Jun 05, 11

Read in June, 2011

I have taught Night for years, and the simple power of Wiesel's bleak words from his autobiography has resonated within me. Dawn is not, as I was expecting, part II of Wiesel's autobiography -- it is, instead a work of fiction set in Palestine immediately following the end of the war in Europe.

It's fictional, but not to say uninformed by Weisel's own life. There are many similarities - the narrator, Elisha, was 12 years old when the war interrupted his life. Like Wiesel, Elisha is a camp survivor who lost his family members to the crematorium and then journeyed to Paris after the war. The beggar referenced in Dawn reminds me of Moshe the Beadle in Night.

This book puts a human face on the struggles in Palestine following World War II and before the creation of Israel. Elisha is a "terrorist" - he works to bring down the occupying British army by whatever means necessary. When the British intend to execute one of Elisha's comrades, Elisha is tasked with executing a British officer. The story unfolds within a 24-hour period.

If I were rating Night, it would be five stars - real, intense, unputdownable. Dawn is fictional, intense and, for me, not quite as compelling.
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