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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Dawn by Elie Wiesel

So, same guy as last time, but with a fiction title, as opposed to a memoir. This should be somewhat easier to critique than Night due to this, but I seem to be kind of distracted at the moment (I will be happy when Christmas prep is over); regardless, I shall make a damn good try at reviewing Dawn.

Dawn takes place in British-controlled Palestine, during the conflict between the Jewish residents and the British occupants. Elisha, the main character and narrator, is a member of the Jewish resistance movement and a survivor of the Holocaust; his faith in the movement is challenged when he is charged with killing a captive English army officer as a response to the execution of one of their comrades. For the majority of the book, Elisha is left to question whether he has it in him to kill someone in cold blood, especially in the name of someone he has never even met.
I liked Dawn primarily because the internal conflict that Elisha goes through seems very true and is great for creating sympathy for him. For me, it was an interesting dynamic, especially following on the heels of Night: in Night, it's obvious who the audience is meant to sympathise with, while Dawn takes the same sympathy and complicates it with the always complex question of terrorism and political violence. It does get a little bit odd when he starts seeing dead people, but otherwise I thought it worked really well.

Overall, a well-written, interesting examination of guilt. It's also encouraged me to do more research into the situation in that era of Palestine, especially having realised that my Grandfather would have been carrying out his compulsory military service out there at around that time. Definitely worth a look. 4.5/5

Next review: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.

Signing off,

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