“Night is purer than day; it is better for thinking and loving and dreaming. At night everything is more intense, more true. The echo of words that have been spoken during the day takes on a new and deeper meaning. The tragedy of man is that he doesn’t know how to distinguish between day and night. He says things at night that should only be said by day.” ― Elie Wiesel, Dawn
Dawn is a continuation to Night, a second book in a trilogy — Night, Dawn, Day— to describe Wiesel’s experiences or thoughts during and after the Holocaust. Dawn was published in 1961. For me, Night contains one of the most influential lines ever to be written: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” I’ve wanted to read Dawn and Day for a year now and this week stumbled upon audio editions of both on Google Play Books.
Dawn is an interesting piece because it describes Wiesel’s thoughts and experiences on holocaust, however unlike Night, it’s written as fiction. In book, we meet Elisha. A young Jewish man, a Holocaust survivor and an Israeli freedom fighter in British-controlled Palestine. His fate is intertwined with John Dawson’s. A man he will have to execute at dawn in retribution for the British execution of a fellow freedom fighter.
“There are moments when I think it will never end, that it will last indefinitely. It’s like the rain. Here the rain, like everything else, suggests permanence and eternity. I say to myself: it’s raining today and it’s going to rain tomorrow and the next day, the next week and the next century.” ― Elie Wiesel, Dawn
The book goes back and forth questioning this killing and questioning death and darkness and moving from this long night towards the dawn. I don’t quite know how I feel about this. I loved Night. I really want to love Dawn as well but it’s just too scattered and you have so much emotion and so many thoughts and for whatever reason all that has been woven into a fictional story. I get that at time, stories can help us express things we could not otherwise put into words but here it seems pointless.
“Beggars inspired me with mingled feelings of love and fear. I knew that I ought to be kind to them, for they might not be what they seemed.”
― Elie Wiesel, Dawn
All in all, I would rate this 2,5/5 stars. It’s not a bad book but it seems odd to have this as a separate 80 pages long/3 hour audiobook and not part of Night.
How-To Read Dawn
1.Read Night first and then read this as a companion to it. If you haven’t gotten this together with the Night, I would probably recommend skipping the hassle.
2. Like Night, Dawn is very philosophical. It’s been a while since I have read so good thoughts so if you’re looking for good lines then I would go with this. Writing is incredibly fragmented so you might not like that.
3. 80 pages / 3 hours honestly doesn’t take much of your time in the end.