La Rose de Personne

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Paul Celan

Eliezer, otherwise known as Elie (short for Eliezer) is the narrator of this book. Telling his tale in a subjective, passionate way, Eliezer details his fall from believing Jew to disbeliever in God’s existence. Various writers have noted the impact that the tale has had on them. This may be due to the fact that Wiesel began as no intentional philosopher. Yet his tale, and the voice in which he relates it, is the essence of an existentialist philosophical treatise and bears impact precisely because it is a narrative—not dry, but impassioned and bitter.

Eliezer is a teenager when he enters the camps (15 years old). He emerges a caustic adult, wise beyond his years. His is 16, but he has gone through more than children ordinarily would. The tale, therefore, though written from the vantage point of a young man, is replete with musings of an experienced philosopher who has devoted years to reflections on life. Elie did not reflect; he lived it, and his book conveys those experiences.

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