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- Publisher: Schocken Books
- Format: Paperback | 192 pages
- Language: English / French
- Dimensions: 130mm x 201mm x 15mm | 159g
- Publication date: 1 July 1995
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0805210458
- ISBN 13: 9780805210453
- Edition: New edition
- Edition statement: New edition
- Sales rank: 601,432
Michael--a young man in his thirties, a concentration camp survivor--makes the difficult trip behind the Iron Curtain to the town of his birth in Hungary. He returns to find and confront "the face in the window"--the real and symbolic faces of all those who stood by and never interfered when the Jews of his town were deported. In an ironic turn of events, he is arrested and imprisoned by secret police as a foreign agent. Here he must confront his own links to humanity in a world still resistant to the lessons of the Holocaust.
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ELIE WIESEL is the author of more than fifty books, both fiction and nonfiction. He is a recipient of the United States Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the French Legion of Honor's Grand-Croix, an honorary knighthood of the British Empire and, in 1986, the Nobel Peace Prize. Since 1976, he has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University.
"God-tormented, God-intoxicated, "The Town Beyond the Wall "is a fiction which refuses to be a novel in any usual sense. It is an exemplary tale such as people may in terror and in hope tell one another. It is a legend--archaic, modern, timeless--of an ascent from purgatory to possibility." --"Newsweek" " " "Elie Wiesel does not describe, he casts a spell. His imagination is in a state of trance. His words are a voice crying in the hideousness of our time." --Abraham Joshua Heschel "Not since Albert Camus has there been such an eloquent spokesman for man." --"The New York Review of Books"
The victim is saying his Prayers - Prayers directed towards a God he has never really found in all his obsessive fanatic searches for Him. Michael remembers the searches during his Prayers, remembers his pre-pogrom, Hassidic childhood in Hungary's "City of Luck," remembers his refugee's despair in a Paris of exile, remembers his one true friend, Pedro, and remembers, most and worst of all, the samples of human indifference that mock at life and make any God hard to find. In fact, ??ll of Michael's memories, all his desires to get back at time by going back in it have an ironic mockery all their own. For he is a prisoner now in his own birthplace, arrested during a three-day flight into the past; and the Prayers are the method of his torture. He must stand against the wall, as the Jews stand to pray, until he falls from bloated legs or confesses his "real" reasons for being in Hungary. No confession, Pedro would be the price. Instead, Michael stands, prays and remembers until he drops into his end, a prison cell. His own indifference is avenged by his care for a demented young prisoner; and if he is mad at the end, it is a madness that he values. The book is weighted with philosophical torments, spiritual abstractions, and the streak of dementia which gives it its power. The sufferings of the Jews (or of humanity) are introverted here into a picture something like the back-view of one of ??hagall's tortured prophets. (Kirkus Reviews)