“In fact, the question has haunted me for a long time: Does life have meaning after Auschwitz? In a universe cursed because it is guilty, is hope still possible? For a young survivor whose knowledge of life and death surpasses that of his elders, wouldn’t suicide be as great a temptation as love or faith?” ― Elie Wiesel, Day
Day is a continuation to Dawn and it’s third and final book in a trilogy — Night, Dawn, Day— that describes Wiesel’s experiences and thoughts during and after the Holocaust. Day was published in 1962 and it has been published in UK as The Accident. Wiesel has explained that, “In Night it is the ‘I’ who speaks. In the other two, it is the ‘I’ who listens and questions. Again, as with Dawn. The Accident tells a real story through fiction. The plot revolves around a Holocaust survivor who is struck by a taxicab in New York City.
This was a peculiar read. The trilogy is divided into three books with very unique titles: Night, Dawn, Day. And they do not have anything to do with parts of the day or the sun. It’s about life and death. Night representing Death, Dawn representing that fine line in-between and Day representing life. Except that, it’s not a day like you think. It’s a day after the deepest and darkest tragedy in your life. And it’s so bright that it hurts your eyes. You see everything to clearly and you are no longer shielded by the darkness.
“He struggles to understand why fate has spared him and not so many others. Was it to know happiness? His happiness will never be complete. To know love? He will never be sure of being worthy of love. A part of him is still back there, on the other side, where the dead deny the living the right to leave them behind. His recovery will be a road into exile, a journey in which the touch of the woman he loves will matter less than the image of his grandmother buried under a mountain of ashes.” ―Elie Wiesel, Day
There were a couple of things about the story that I hated for they represented and loved for how they portrayed the emotion. There was a part where the main character, Eliezer is in the hospital bed and he is remembering this girl. This 13 year old girl, who is sent off to special barracks in Auschwitz and she’s the favorite one of all. She’s a gift that is given to someone because of her young age. And this girl, Sarah accuses Eliezer of not having sex with her and not liking her and wonders if it is because she is now too old. I don’t think I ever thought of this when I thought of Auschwitz and I don’t think I want to go there. Then, there was another part when a nurse comes to shave Eliezer and he
refuses. Nurse’s argument is that death wouldn’t touch the good looking, the cleanly shaven. However, Eliezer argues that he looks even more sick shaven. He has a point. And then there are so many thoughts on death and I guess survivor’s guilt. Was it an accident that he was hit by the taxi? And was it an accident that he survived the concentration camp? And how he was explaining to Kathleen, his lover that how a man can become a grave for the unburied dead.
“A man who has suffered more than others, and differently, should live apart. Alone. Outside of any organized existence. He poisons the air. He makes it unfit for breathing. He takes away from joy its spontaneity and its justification. He kills hope and the will to live. He is the incarnation of time that negates present and future, only recognizing the harsh law of memory. He suffers and his contagious suffering calls forth echoes around him.”
I would rate this 4/5 stars, however I would say it’s in many ways more than Night ever was. It’s like everything that was there during Night can now be seen in daylight and it’s more pure and raw and not shaded away by Night. I dropped ones star out because this was even more fragmented than Dawn and sometimes it was hard to understand why would the author wove fiction into it.
How-To Read Day
1. I would warmly recommend reading Dawn and Night before this one, although I think all of them work perfectly fine as individual works.
2. I haven’t read anything this philosophically beautiful in years. Then again, we hover so close to death and this is one of the darkest and most depressing books I have ever read.
3. Audiobooks read by George Guidall are stunning. I would recommend them over physical copies as Guidall’s voice carries so much emotion and it often felt like it was read by the author himself.
Featured image: pxhere
“Whoever survives a test, whatever it may be, must tell the story. That is his duty.”
― Elie Wiesel