Day after Night

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Overview

The bestselling author of Good Harbor and The Last Days of Dogtown returns to the geography of The Red Tent and re-imagines a true event in the aftermath of World War II in an intensely dramatic, profoundly sad new novel.

In her most moving and powerful novel ever, Anita Diamant portrays richly imagined female characters in a haunting fictionalization of the post-Holocaust experience.

Atlit is a holding camp for "illegal" immigrants in Israel ...

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Day After Night

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Overview

The bestselling author of Good Harbor and The Last Days of Dogtown returns to the geography of The Red Tent and re-imagines a true event in the aftermath of World War II in an intensely dramatic, profoundly sad new novel.

In her most moving and powerful novel ever, Anita Diamant portrays richly imagined female characters in a haunting fictionalization of the post-Holocaust experience.

Atlit is a holding camp for "illegal" immigrants in Israel in 1945. There, about 270 men and women await their future and try to recover from their past. Diamant, with infinite compassion and understanding, tells the stories of the women gathered in this place.

Shayndel is a Polish Zionist who fought the Germans with a band of partisans. Leonie is a Parisian beauty. Tedi is Dutch, a strapping blond who wants only to forget. Zorah survived Auschwitz. Haunted by unspeakable memories and too many losses to bear, these young women, along with a stunning cast of supporting characters who work in or pass through Atlit, begin to find salvation in the bonds of friendship and shared experience, as they confront the challenge of re-creating themselves and discovering a way to live again.

Day After Night is a devastatingly beautiful novel, a story only Anita Diamant could tell, and it will make every reader weep.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
This striking novel by the author of The Red Tent is based on a dramatic true story: In October 1945, more than 200 "illegal immigrant" prisoners at the Atlit internment camp in Palestine were freed. The story of this rescue, the friendships it forged, and its aftermath is told through the words of four young women who at first seem to share little except their incarceration. Zorah is a concentration camp survivor; Leonie, a Parisian beauty; Shayndel, an ideological Polish Zionist; and Tedi, a formerly hidden Dutch Jew. As always, Anita Diamant constructs her plot with the dignity and moral force of a biblical story. Fiction that makes history real.
Sarah Fay
Although each character is carefully sketched, Leonie is the most absorbing. Convinced she hasn't suffered enough, she unveils the complexities in this community of survivors, carrying Diamant's readers beyond the stark polarities of victim and perpetrator, right and wrong.
—The New York Times
Wendy Smith
Anita Diamant's new novel offers all the satisfactions found in her previous works The Red Tent and The Last Days of Dogtown: rich portraits of female friendship, unflinching acknowledgment of life's cruelty and resolute assertion of hope, enfolded in a strong story line developed in lucid prose. She ups the ante here, chronicling three months in the lives of Jewish refugees interned in Atlit, a British detention center for illegal immigrants to the Palestinian Mandate. Based on an actual event—the rescue of more than 200 detainees from Atlit in October 1945—Day After Night demonstrates the power of fiction to illuminate the souls of people battered by the forces of history.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Diamant's interpretation of the founding of Israel centers on several young women, many of them survivors of the Nazi concentration camps, attempting an escape from another camp, this one a British internment center in Palestine. Dagmara Dominczyk is good with the panoply of European accents evinced by Diamant's characters, and does an adequate job with the Hebrew and Yiddish gutturals, but some of the basics flummox her: the name of one of the book's protagonists should be pronounced SHAYN-del, not Shayn-DEL. These jarring mistakes notwithstanding, Dominczyk is adept at modulating her voice, using shifts in timber, intonation, and accent bring each of Diamant's heroines to life. A Scribner hardcover (Reviews, Jul. 6).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Diamant (The Last Days of Dogtown, 2005, etc.) tenderly portrays four women in transition, from the killing fields of Europe to the promised land of Eretz Yisrael. In August 1945, however, they're stuck in Atlit, a British detention center for illegal immigrants to the Palestinian mandate. "Not one of the women in Barrack C is 21, but all of them are orphans," the author tells us on the first page. Zorah lost her entire family in the first concentration-camp selection. Tedi spent two years hiding in the Dutch countryside, then escaped from a train bound for Auschwitz. Shayndel, a prewar Zionist, fought with the partisans. Leonie was saved from a roundup of Parisian Jews and forced into prostitution. These memories are their constant companions, but people at Atlit avoid talking about the past: "It was all about Palestine." The underground Jewish fighting force plans to break out the detainees and lead them to the kibbutzim. Meanwhile, the camp is riddled with intrigue. The Jewish cook is sleeping with the British commander to gain information, but she also happens to love him. Leonie spots an SS tattoo under the armpit of a crazed new arrival. Shayndel spars with a swaggering Jewish soldier and wonders if all the men in Palestine are this arrogant. Zorah becomes the fierce protector of a Polish gentile who rescued her Jewish employer's son and is raising him as her own. The novel climaxes with the breakout (an actual event), but the real story here is about healing, about being able to love again and to believe in the future. Diamant quietly leads us into her characters' anguish, guilt and despair, then gently shows them coming to renewed life almost in spite of themselves. A movingepilogue traces the four protagonists' paths after leaving Atlit, reminding us that their wartime ordeals and internment were "just the beginning."A warm, intensely human reckoning with unbearable sorrow and unquenchable hope. Author tour to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York and San Francisco
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743299848
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 9/8/2009
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Anita Diamant

Anita Diamant is the bestselling author of the novels The Red Tent, Good Harbor, and The Last Days of Dogtown, as well as the collection of essays, Pitching My Tent. An award-winning journalist whose work has appeared regularly in The Boston Globe Magazine and Parenting, she is the author of six nonfiction guides to contemporary Jewish life. She lives in Massachusetts. Her most recent novel is Day After Night. Visit her website at www.anitadiamant.com.

Biography

Anita Diamant is an award-winning journalist and the author of several bestselling novels (The Red Tent, Good Harbor, The Last Days of Dogtown, Day After Night), a collection of essays (Pitching My Tent, and six nonfiction guides to contemporary Jewish life.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Anita Diamont:

"Modern dance concerts inspire me like little else. I'm amazed at the creativity and the range of the human imagination in the human body. Along a similar vein, I tend to prefer contemporary art museums and galleries for the visual/mental kick-in-the-pants. I don't go in expecting to like everything I see; I'm just... looking!"

"I unwind by walking on the beach. Sky, sea, sand, rocks, birds -- the great noisy emptiness. Nothing like it."

"I'd rather be home, or close to home. Traveling around the US or abroad is fascinating, but I lack the bug or gene that inspired people to visit the four corners of the globe. I'm not uncurious, honest. Maybe I'll grow into it..."

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    1. Hometown:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 27, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      M.A. in English, SUNY, Binghamton, NY, 1975; B.A. in Comparative Literature, Washington Univ., St. Louis, MO, 1973.
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 94 )
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(25)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 96 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    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, 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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 16, 2009

    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 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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    One of the Best

    I never heard of this place and was really given a view of things in the beginnings of Israel that was educational, thrilling and hope inspiring. A must read for all those who love books about Israel and what inspires Americans, like me, to realize the need for Israeli endurance so it never happens again and I really don't think the British, ala this and Cyprus, were very good to the Jews and young people should be made to read this if they care anything about their heritage.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

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    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    Typically Diamantely Excellent

    Great read! Based on real events, which opened my eyes.

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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 March 26, 2012

    midly recommended

    while the topic is extremely interesting and not well-known the book was light. It is an easy read with not much content analysis given the difficult topic. I would have liked to have more in-depth character development and historical background woven into the story.
    However, i read this on an airplane and for this purpose it is a good book.

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  • Posted October 31, 2010

    Wow! Highly Recommend!

    Wow! This book gives you another look at what happened after World War II. A view that opens you up to wondering how anyone could survive the atrocities that occurred, how people could go on after losing everything. How could they have any hope or will-power. I am not sure there are many in our society today that could endure and go on. I had never really given any thought to how the people from the concentration camps survived after they were released by the Allies. Unfortunately we teach our children about World War II when they are really too young to think about what happened to individual people. Where they went, how they survived after the War.

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  • Posted August 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Reminder

    This book humanizes the Holocaust, sometimes we tend to put everyone in one category. Each one of these women survived different situations in different ways. Also, when a war is over we tend to forget that the impact of that war will affect that entire generation for the rest of their lives and in turn the lives of those they care about. GREAT BOOK.

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  • Posted May 12, 2010

    Another great book from Diamant

    I read The Red Tent and really enjoyed it so I thought I would give this book a try. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The study of each of the individual personalities and backgrounds all coming together in unusual and difficult circumstances was very well done. I immediately recommended the book to a coworker who enjoyed it as much as I did.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Historical Snapshot

    Recently finished Day after Night and I have to say that I found it a very good and enlightening book. I really did not know about this event. Such a powerful story. I really liked the switch back and forth between the character's stories. Sometimes it was difficult to keep track of who was who as the author switched frequently from one character's story to another, but I think that it worked. If you are interested in WWII and the stories of individuals, I don't think you will be disappointed.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2010

    I loved this book

    My father is a Holocaust survivor and all my life I heard the stories of he and his family's experiences. He came to America from the camps. Here is a story of going to Israel. I never knew undocumented Jews were interred in camps. I thought they were welcomed to Israel and quickly assimilated into the homeland. What an eye opener this was for me. The story had wonderful characters and was so well written. I will recommend this book to all of my friends and especially my daughters. Whether you're Jewish or not, you will love this book. The only disappointment for me was that it was a short book and I wanted it to last. I wanted to savor it but I couldn't put it down. That's the sign of a great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2010

    Great Read!

    I really liked this book. As in the Red Tent, the author weaves multiple tales of strong women into one central plot. Great for a book club!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2009

    Day After Night by Anita Diamant

    Based on true story of Oct. 1945 rescue of more than 200 prisoners from an interment camp/prison for illegal immigrants, run by the British. The story is told through the eyes of 4 young women with profoundly different stories. All of them survived the holocast, but never expected this situation to happen when they thought they were finally heading towards freedom. It was a powerful telling of a terrible tragedy. I thought it was going to be too dark/ depressing but was very inspirational.

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    Wanted to love it!!!

    Being an Anita Diamant fan I fully expected to love this book and had recommended it for our book club. Very disappointing. The characters never drew you in on a subject that really should have because the time period is so important and relevent for today to understand the world. Each character had her own story but it all seemed flat. Recommend "The Red Tent" and "Good Harbor" by this author to show you good stories that are well written and wonderful!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    Slow

    Interesting topic but slow moving and a little dull.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Beautiful tribute to post-Holocaust survival

    Yes, that was me sobbing on the train as I read this gem of a book. I loved the characters set in the post-WWII struggle to achieve the goal of a homeland for the ragged Jews after the war. Each story was told with accuracy and sensitivity, describing the mechanisms that each young woman used for surrvival. The friendship that arose, not just between them, but with others and the touching unexpected ending and follow-up to the tale, held me for hours after I read the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Day After Night by Anita Diamant - review

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ms. Diamant is a powerful writer, and is capable of bringing the past to life through her characterizations and her careful research. I also learned a lot through reading this book, about a period of history and a location that I knew little about. I did not want this book to end, and I crave a sequel to know more about what happened later in the lives of the young women after their breakout from Atlit. I found that many cliches about post WWII Jews were erased from this reading, such as they did not want to hear how "lucky" they were. I recommend this book to anyone want to learn more about what Jews did to eatablish thier country of Israel and how hard life was for them after the war ended. It was almost going from one type of captivity to another.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2009

    Overall good read

    Most of the time, I was interested in the characters. Sometimes, when the characters went into the Zionist philosophy, I wanted the story to move on. I will pass this on to some of my friends.

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