Christine's Reviews > Twilight

Twilight by Elie Wiesel
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's review
Dec 16, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: general-fiction
Read in January, 2009

** spoiler alert ** I really enjoyed this novel. The story-telling style jumps from person-to-person and time-to-time, but even if it seems confusing, hang in there - the pieces the author reveals all come together to a very thought-provoking and touching ending.

There were several dialogues that I wish were short enough to add to my 'quotes' page on Goodreads. I wish I could write them all down - perhaps I just need to buy a copy of this novel and mark them. The one I was most touched by was near the end of the novel, when Raphael comes across "God" and has a very meaningful conversation with him. Here is part of it:

"He does not introduce himself. He does not have to. Now that he has spoken, I know who he is. In his presence I feel alone, Yet this solitude is not a burden. I am alone as he is alone. I am alone because he is alone.

I feel like speaking to him. I, who have been so intent on listening, now feel the need to reach into myself and beyond. I must speak to him of the dead who no longer speak, of the ghosts that haunt my sleep, of the memories that plague me. I must tell him what I have never told a soul.

But the man speaks first: 'This is not how I had imagined my creation. All these creatures that breathe because of me, what do they want? That I keep quiet, that I keep out of their lives. But when I remain silent, they reproach me. When I speak, they call me arbitrary. Those poor earthworms envy me. But why? Because I am invincible? So what? Do they think I like taking the blame for everything?

'...If only they'd leave me alone. There would be help for the sick, a mother for every orphan, a home for every beggar. There would be peace everywhere, in heaven and on earth. No more bloody wars! No more massacres committed in my name! I repudiate them all.'

His words are spoken with such conviction taht I allow myself to be carried by their cadence, their logic. Like Moses before me, I absorb his voice and it is that voice that speaks through mine. 'You say that you pity man. But tell me, where is your pity? How does it manifest itself? And why must it be so sparing? Since you are Almightly, why don't you replace man's baseness with goodness? And his cruel instincts with generosity?'

A cool breeze rustles the leaves. Raphael's neighbor turns up his collar.

'Who are you?' he asks impatiently. 'Who are you, mortal, to question the order of my creation? How dare you ask such momentous questions?'

I would prefer to say nothing, Pedro, and yet I hear myself speak:

'I have seen men suffer, I have seen children die. It is in their name that I speak to you. How can you justify their suffering?'

'I don't have to. Some men kill people and people say it is my fault. Other men permit the killers to kill. Are you saying that too is my fault?'

'You could have prevented it all from happeneing.'

'Yes, I could have. Not only the massacres, but all that preceeded them. I could have prevented the killer from being born, his accomplice from growing up, mankind from going astray... Can you tell me at what precise moment I should have intervened to keep the children from being thrown into the flames? At the very last moment? Why not before? But when is 'before'? When the idea is conceived? When the order is transmitted? When the hunter sights his prey? Go on, answer! You are putting me on trial. Fine. But a trial involves facts and arguments, not clichés. Since you are so clever, can you tell me what I should have done, and when?'

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01/03/2009 page 35
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