Elie Weisel’s book Night
is not a novel, it’s his life story.
Ed Lasky writes about a defamation campaign against Weisel,
Moral inversions have corrupted many in the West. The New York Times uses some minor revisions in a new translation of Night to cast aspersions on Wiesel’s reliability during a period of time when Holocaust denial is rife and when Iran promises to rain destruction upon the Jews of Israel. The Los Angeles Times gives valuable journalistic space to someone who would engage in character assassination of a Holocaust survivor and a Nobel Peace Prize winner (when winning such a prize actually conferred some measure of legitimacy).
Bookworm Room was listening to NPR, and comments,
I’d heard precisely the same type of attack the other day on NPR. There a commentator, his voice dripping with “I like Wiesel” concern, likened Wiesel’s book to the recent spate of faked memoirs. The commentator pointed out that the Yiddish book that preceded Night had minor differences, such as the final sentence, which adds one more fact to amp up its emotional strength. He ruminated thoughtfully about whether these differences in tone turned the book from an autobiographical book about the camps into a novel.
It turns out — silly me, not to have realized this — that in the rarified world of NPR, writing differently about the same undisputed facts may also be faking it. This, of course, is entirely separate from “fake but accurate” which allows you to lie 100%, but still be held up as telling the truth. Obviously, truth is a very flexible concept for some.
Last year I had the privilege of attending Mr. Weisel’s talk, Despair is never an option.
I highly recommend his book Night.
Update Weisel’s book was picked up by Oprah, who’s still in the midst of her ridiculous defense of the fictional book James Frey tried to palm off as non-fictional. ShrinkWrapped examines The Difference Between Truth, “Truth” and Lies
(technorati tag Elie Weisel)