Friday, February 20, 2009

New Novel from Elie Wiesel

Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel (author of the bestselling memoir, Night) grapples with questions of madness, sadness and memory in his difficult but powerful new novel, A Mad Desire to Dance, translated from the French by Catherine Temerson. The novel tells the story of Doriel, a European expatriate living in New York, who suffers from a profound sense of desperation and loss. His mother, a member of the Resistance, survived World War II only to die in an accident, together with his father, soon after. Doriel was a child during the war, and his knowledge of the Holocaust is largely limited to what he finds in movies, newsreels, and books. Doriel's parents and their secrets haunt him, leaving him filled with longing but unable to experience the most basic joys in life. He plunges into an intense study of Judaism, but instead of finding solace, he comes to believe that he is possessed by a dybbuk. Surrounded by ghosts and spurred on by demons, Doriel finally turns to Dr. Therese Goldschmidt, a psychoanalyst who finds herself particularly intrigued by her patient. The two enter into an uneasy relationship based on exchange: of dreams, histories, and secrets. Despite Doriel's initial resistance, Dr. Goldschmidt helps to bring him to a crossroads -- and to a shocking denouement. In Doriel's journey into the darkest regions of the soul, Elie Wiesel has written one of his most profoundly moving works of fiction, grounded always by his unparalleled moral compass. While the novel is not an easy read, there are rewards and surprises to be had.

1 comment:

  1. I was intensely moved by Night, and have a father in law who was a child in Poland during the Holocaust, so I look forward to reading this book to get even a small glimpse of what his journey must have been like.


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