In the preface to the newest translation of Night, Elie Wiesel writes, "If in my lifetime I was to write only one book, this would be the one."
I love to read. Books are like air to me. Books are my vice. All kinds of books. Classics. Biographies. Romance. Memoirs. Chick-lit. Books on politics. Mysteries. So long as the literary style is readable, I'll read it, whatever it might be.
But if, in my lifetime, I was to read only one book, Night would be that book.
The original Yiddish version of Night opened with the following narrative:
In the beginning there was faith—which is childish; trust—which is vain; and illusion—which is dangerous.
We believed in God, trusted in man, and lived with the illusion that every one of us has been entrusted with a sacred spark from the Shekhinah's flame; that every one of us carries in his eyes and in his soul a reflection of God's image.
That was the source if not the cause of all our ordeals.
That quote was cut from the version that eventually made print, but it resonates.
People generally dwell, for a short time, on the horror we inflict on one another, through mishap or purpose, and then we forget. Memories slip through the cracks of our minds, and we move on. Live on. Until we repeat the terrifying mistakes of before.
Night is a book dedicated to remembering. And, the picture it paints is so clear, so vivid that you can reach out and touch it.
Read this book.
If you only read one book in your lifetime, read this book.