A Mad Desire to Dance by Elie Wiesel

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From Elie Wiesel, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and one of our fiercest moral voices, a provocative and deeply thoughtful new novel about a life shaped by the worst horrors of the twentieth century and one man’s attempt to reclaim happiness.

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 books—but it is enough. Doriel’s 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 Doriel’s initial resistance, Dr. Goldschmidt helps to bring him to a crossroads—and to a shocking denouement.

In Doriel’s 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Elie Wiesel

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Elie Wiesel is the author of more than forty books, including his unforgettable international bestsellers Night and A Beggar in Jerusalem, winner of the Prix Médicis. He has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States Congressional Gold Medal, and the French Legion of Honor with the rank of Grand Cross. In 1986, he received the Nobel Peace Prize. He is Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and University Professor at Boston University.
Published February 17, 2009 by Knopf. 288 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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With most of the novel transpiring in Doriel’s memory and in his sessions, he seems less like a madman than an existential Everyman, one for whom “being born is more like exile than liberation.” He finds himself in a state of perpetual fear, “a fear that is not yet death but that is no longer lif...

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The New York Times

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In this novel, Holocaust survivors grapple with grim legacies.

Mar 01 2009 | Read Full Review of A Mad Desire to Dance

Bookmarks Magazine

… So it gives me little pleasure to say that Wiesel’s latest novel … is one of the most impenetrable books published by a major author in recent memory."

Feb 16 2009 | Read Full Review of A Mad Desire to Dance

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