Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mini-Review of "A Mad Desire to Dance" by Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel has been much on the public consciousness for several decades. His memoir, "Night" thrust him onto the public stage. More recently, his name appeared among a list of those whose life savings Bernie Madoff absconded with. In this densely written novel, Wiesel shows that he is continuing to wrestle with and process the personal and universal aftershocks from the Holocaust.

In this work of fiction, Doriel, the protagonist, using his psychiatrist as the screen upon which he projects his memories and fears, recounts the story of his family. His mother was a Resistance fighter who survived World War II, only to die later in an accident. Doriel was a child during the war, and his knowledge of those troubled times is based largely on newspaper and newsreel accounts. As a man nearing the end of his life, he struggles to make sense of all that his family suffered. His dance of pain with Dr. Goldschmidt takes both of them into dark corners of their souls. The agonizing sharing of Doriel's journey beckons the therapist out of the comfort of professional objectivity and shakes her and her marriage to the core.

This is a deeply moving fictional account of a very real journey that Wiesel and countless others have made in the decades that have passed since an attempt at a "Final Solution" was imposed upon humanity.

This is a work of art from the heart well worth reading.


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