From Elie Wiesel, a profoundly moving novel about the healing power
Gamaliel Friedman is only a child when his family flees Czechoslovakia
in 1939 for the relative safety of Hungary. For him, it will be the
beginning of a life of rootlessness, disguise, and longing. Five years
later, in desperation, Gamaliel's parents entrust him to a young
Christian cabaret singer named Ilonka. With his Jewish identity hidden,
he survives the war, but in 1956, to escape the stranglehold of
communism, he leaves Budapest after painfully parting with Ilonka.
He settles in Vienna, then Paris, and finally, after a failed marriage,
in New York, where he works as a ghostwriter, living through the lives
of others. Eventually, he falls in with a group of exiles: a Spanish
Civil War veteran, a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto, a victim of
Stalinism, a former Israeli intelligence agent, and a rabbia mystic
whose belief in the potential for grace in everyday life powerfully
counters Gamaliel's feelings of loss and dispossession. When Gamaliel
is asked to help draw out an elderly, disfigured Hungarian woman who is
barely able to communicate but who may be his beloved Ilonka, he begins
to understand that a real life in the present is possible only if he
will reconcile with his past.
Aching, unsentimental, deeply affecting, and thought-provoking, The
Time of the Uprooted is the work of a master.
Some critics feel that Wiesel's themes of love , loss, faith, politics, survival and, of course, exile, are a little too defuse; but one cannot deny the impact
of his body of work as a whole, which speaks for not only the lost generation but those left behind, to which The Time of the Uprooted is a worthy addition, illustrating the lasting emotional impact of the Holocaust. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Though the story ends on an optimistic note, this remains a bleak and unsettling novel, an exploration of the power and mystery of stories, as well as their ultimate failure to change the world.
Booklist - Brad Hooper
The novel comes to be a disturbing but lesson-filled meditation on identity and the resulting disturbance of the heart and mind when one never possesses a secure one.
Library Journal - Henry Carrigan
While Wiesel's later works have seldom possessed the force of his early ones (e.g., The Night Trilogy), his reflections here powerfully capture the ways that we deal with the past and the ways that it imbues our lives with ambivalent feelings about our identities.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Stephanie My Opinion This book was very well written, however at times it was very hard to follow. This book has so much information about Elie's life and everything that happened during his time at the concentration camps. He is a really good author and is probably... Read More
Elie Wiesel was born in 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania,
which is now part of Romania. He was fifteen years
old when he and his family were deported by the
Nazis to Auschwitz. His mother and younger sister
perished, his two older sisters survived. Elie and
his father were later transported to Buchenwald,
where his father died shortly before the camp was
liberated in April 1945.
After the war, he studied in Paris and
later became a journalist. During an interview
with the distinguished French writer, Francois
Mauriac, he was persuaded to write about his
experiences in the death camps. The result was his
internationally acclaimed memoir, La Nuit or
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