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The Gates of the Forest

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Overview

Gregor—a teenaged boy, the lone survivor of his family—is hiding from the Germans in the forest. He hides in a cave, where he meets a mysterious stranger who saves his life. He hides in the village, posing as a deaf-mute peasant boy. He hides among the partisans of the Jewish resistance. But where, he asks, is God hiding? And where can one find redemption in a world that God has abandoned? In a story punctuated by friendship and fear, sacrifice and betrayal, Gregor's wartime wanderings take us deep into the ...
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Overview

Gregor—a teenaged boy, the lone survivor of his family—is hiding from the Germans in the forest. He hides in a cave, where he meets a mysterious stranger who saves his life. He hides in the village, posing as a deaf-mute peasant boy. He hides among the partisans of the Jewish resistance. But where, he asks, is God hiding? And where can one find redemption in a world that God has abandoned? In a story punctuated by friendship and fear, sacrifice and betrayal, Gregor's wartime wanderings take us deep into the ghost-filled inner world of the survivor.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A remarkably affecting story."
The New Yorker

"Like a Hasidic tale, The Gates of the Forest becomes one of those stories which man was created to relate . . . Its author is a greatly gifted artist."
—Hugh Nissenson

"Profoundly moving . . . In this book, all men are witnesses, all men are Jews. It is the condition of our lives, and the song and dagger of Elie Wiesel's art."
The New York Times

"The novels of Elie Wiesel are a singularly impressive instance of how the creative imagination can surprise our expectations of what its limits should be."
—Robert Alter

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805210446
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 593,564
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Elie Wiesel is the author of more than thirty internationally acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction. He is the Andrew Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University. in 1986, he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Biography

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky." Since the publication of this passage in Night, Elie Wiesel has devoted his life to ensuring that the world never forgets the horrors of the Holocaust, and to fostering the hope that they never happen again.

Wiesel was 15 years old when the Nazis invaded his hometown of Sighet, Romania. He and his family were taken to Auschwitz, where his mother and the youngest of his three sisters died. He and his father were later transported to Buchenwald, where his father died shortly before Allied forces liberated the camp in 1945. After the war, Wiesel attended the Sorbonne in Paris and worked for a while as a journalist. He met the Nobel Prize-winning writer Francois Mauriac, who helped persuade Wiesel to break his private vow never to speak of his experiences in the death camps.

During a long recuperation from a car accident in New York City in 1956, Wiesel decided to make his home in the United States. His memoir Night, which appeared two years later (compressed from an earlier, longer work, And the World Remained Silent), was initially met with skepticism. "The Holocaust was not something people wanted to know about in those days," Wiesel later said in a Time magazine interview.

But eventually the book drew recognition and readers. "A slim volume of terrifying power" (The New York Times), Night remains one of the most widely read works on the Holocaust. It was followed by over 40 more books, including novels, essay collections and plays. Wiesel's writings often explore the paradoxes raised by his memories: he finds it impossible to speak about the Holocaust, yet impossible to remain silent; impossible to believe in God, yet impossible not to believe.

Wiesel has also worked to bring attention to the plight of oppressed people around the world. "When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant," he said in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. "Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must -- at that moment -- become the center of the universe."

Though lauded by many as a crusader for justice, Wiesel has also been criticized for his part in what some see as the commercialization of the Holocaust. In his 2000 memoir And the Sea Is Never Full, Wiesel shares some of his own qualms about fame and politics, but reiterates what he sees as his duty as a survivor and witness:

''The one among us who would survive would testify for all of us. He would speak and demand justice on our behalf; as our spokesman he would make certain that our memory would penetrate that of humanity. He would do nothing else.''

Good To Know

Use of the term "Holocaust" to describe the extermination of six million Jews and millions of other civilians by the Nazis is widely thought to have originated in Night.

Two of Wiesel's subsequent works , Dawn and The Accident, form a kind of trilogy with Night. "These stories live deeply in all that I have written and all that I am ever going to write," the author has said.

President Jimmy Carter appointed Wiesel to be chairman of the President's Commission on the Holocaust in 1978. In 1980, Wiesel became founding chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He is also the founding president of the Paris-based Universal Academy of Cultures and cofounder of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

Since 1969, Marion Wiesel has translated her husband Elie's books from French into English. They live in New York City and have one son.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Eliezer Wiesel (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 30, 1928
    2. Place of Birth:
      Sighet, Romania
    1. Education:
      La Sorbonne

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2004

    I've run out of copies to give away.

    I found this book at my college bookstore several years ago. I bought it and carried it with me every day for 5 years afterwards. My original copy is worn, dog-eared, marked-up, and dirty. I have yet to find another book that moves me more deeply than this one, and I recommend it to everyone I know that has an ounce of empathy, a pinch of imagination, and the ability to read. Whenever I visit a used bookstore I buy what copies are available, and give them away. Most people cannot find words to descibe the wealth of thoughts and emotions his book provokes. I still cannot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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