A Mad Desire to Dance Summary
Doriel, a European expatriate living in New York, suffers from a profound sense of desperation and loss. His mother, a member of the Resistance, survived World War II only to die in an accident, together with his father, soon after. Doriel was a child during the war, and his knowledge of the Holocaust is largely limited to what he finds in movies, newsreels, and booksbut it is enough. Doriels parents and their secrets haunt him, leaving him filled with longing but unable to experience the most basic joys in life. He plunges into an intense study of Judaism, but instead of finding solace, he comes to believe that he is possessed by a dybbuk.
Surrounded by ghosts, spurred on by demons, Doriel finally turns to Dr. Thérèse Goldschmidt, a psychoanalyst who finds herself particularly intrigued by her patient. The two enter into an uneasy relationship based on exchange: of dreams, histories, and secrets. Despite Doriels initial resistance, Dr. Goldschmidt helps to bring him to a crossroadsand to a shocking denouement.
In Doriels journey into the darkest regions of the soul, Elie Wiesel has written one of his most profoundly moving works of fiction, grounded always by his unparalleled moral compass.