Customer Reviews for

Day After Night

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

From barbed wire to barbed wire: a painful, beautiful story of healing and forgiveness

Day after Night is the latest offering from acclaimed author Anita Diamant (The Red Tent). In this novel, Diamant transport the reader to Palestine, 1945. In the wake of Nazi Germany, the remaining Jews of Europe, recently liberated from the death camps, frail, hollow, ...
Day after Night is the latest offering from acclaimed author Anita Diamant (The Red Tent). In this novel, Diamant transport the reader to Palestine, 1945. In the wake of Nazi Germany, the remaining Jews of Europe, recently liberated from the death camps, frail, hollow, and raw, are now gathered in Displaced People's Camps (DP's) across Europe. Many young people stand at a cross roads. They've lost everything - parents, siblings, friends. They've seen and experienced every horror, and now they must decide what to do with their lives. Should they return to their homes and communities in Europe? Should they take inspiration from the Zionist camp songs of their younger days and immigrate to Palestine? Should they try to find relatives in America? And ultimately: can they even live in the world, after having been through the camps?

Diamant gives us a peak into the lives of five young women - teenage girls, really - each of whom ended up by a twist of fate in Palestine on the eve of Israel's statehood. "Welcome Home!" they are greeted by fellow survivors as they enter the barbed wired gate at Atlit - a prison compound on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, just south of Haifa.

Having arrived in Palestine as a result of different motivations - some Zionist, others desperate, and still others from a sense of having nothing left in Europe, the girls undertake the seemingly insurmountable task of healing. They find themselves alive and alone in a world turned completely upside-down. They've been surviving from day to day for years, and now must adjust once again to a "new normal." Their struggle with this is palpable.

A commonality they share is a great reluctance to remember - to remember the horrors they experienced in the camps. and even more poignant and more painful, to remember what life was like before the camps. Each girl has secrets that cannot be brought into the light of day. Each must battle her inner demons to find peace and self-forgiveness. Each girl finds her healing in different ways and at different times. And despite their tough outward appearances and actions, they support one another.

Within Atlit the detainees break themselves into communities, often by their origins (Romanians, Germans, Hungarians, Poles, etc.). They come together as communities to converse in their native tongues, to ask for information about their neighbors and friends, and pray in familiar tunes. In a particularly moving scene, the entire camp comes together to recite Kaddish at the end of Yom Kippur. So many souls over which to pray.

The number of young people in the camp makes sexual tension inevitable. These are young men and women in their late teens and early twenties. They flirt with each other. They tease one another. At one point a bus of Syrian Jews is brought into the camp (these young men had been captured by the British crossing the border into Palestine). They are muscle-bound, dark-skinned, black-haired men - very foreign and exotic-looking to the pale, thin European girls witnessing their arrival.

Day after Night "has it all" - a wonderful story-line based on some of the most important moments in Jewish and Israeli history; empathetic characters; sex; intrigue; a prison break and chase scene; and even an epilogue to answer the questions of "whatever happened to" so-and-so. It's a beautiful book, from cover-to-cover, full of weepy moments and opportunities to reflect on life and how we play the cards we're dealt.

posted by Amy_D_Z on December 14, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Sketchy and Rushed

The Red Tent had such an impact on all of us that years later, we are still talking about it. With high hopes, my book club and I read The Day After Night. We were intrigued by the subject matter which has not been touched on in recent literature. With so much written ...
The Red Tent had such an impact on all of us that years later, we are still talking about it. With high hopes, my book club and I read The Day After Night. We were intrigued by the subject matter which has not been touched on in recent literature. With so much written about the Holocaust, we were interested in finding out more about what was happening in Israel right at the beginning. This is the first novel in our experience that touched on the subject. Expecting another revealation, my book club and I were so disappointed with Day After Night. The characters were so poorly described and developed that we kept confusing the women and could not form clear pictures in our heads about their looks and personalities. The story was also simple, redundant and ended so quickly, it felt like a kid in class who had to finish a story because the bell had rung. We are going to see Anita Diamont speak tomorrow night, se we are curious to see what she has to say about this rather intriguing subject, but poorly executed novel.

posted by ToastedHead on November 16, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    Ok

    This book was a dissapointment after reading the red tent! I had high hopes for this one! :/

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2012

    Enjoyable

    I did enjoy this book as I have others by this author, but like others have said, the characters aren't really fleshed out and the reading is light yet emotional. The subject itself is very fascinating. I was sadly touched by the end, but I feel it lends credibility to the story. I would mildly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    Slow

    Interesting topic but slow moving and a little dull.

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