Continuing on with the Holocaust theme, Night is a classic I’ve never read, which is also on my students’ reading list. It’s not an easy read by any means — it’s a very short, sparse, raw retelling of Elie Wiesel’s experience as a Jewish teenager who barely survived Auschwitz. It’s compelling but also chilling. One thing it conveys better than anything I’ve read is the dehumanization of those in the camps — how the suffering became so overwhelming that for many people, human feelings, even love for family members, was simply erased by the grim desire to survive.
The book ends abruptly, with the newly-released narrator contemplating the emptiness of his own soul after the horrors he has experienced, after the death of his faith in a loving God. It’s a stark and brutal book, but it needs to be, as there’s nothing more stark and brutal than the reality it describes.