Page 239 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

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Elie Wiesel
In presenting the Harry and Ethel Daroff Memorial Fiction
Award on behalf of the judges, Leo W. Schwarz, noted author
and lecturer, stated: “In giving this award to Elie Wiesel for his
The Town Beyond the Wall,
the judges believe they have
selected a book of the highest artistic value and at the same time
a book that is irrefragibly Jewish. The town where the story is
enacted is a town with a name and with people; but in reality
the town is the throbbing heart of the world and the people are
humankind. The time of the story is today, but in truth it is
yesterday and tomorrow. We and our forebears and our progeny
are all involved in the brutal inhumanity as well as the moral
grandeur which is dramatically and beautifully portrayed. For
the theme is that man is fated, not only to wrestle with himself,
but also to wrestle with the angels.
“Here is a dialogue between two of the protagonists:
‘You like to talk about God?’
‘You know I do.'
‘Then go on. Go on Pedro. Talk to me about God.’
‘God, little brother, is the weakness of strong men and the
strength of weak men.’
‘What about men? Do you like to talk about men too?’
‘You know I do.'
‘Then talk to me about men.’
‘Man is God’s strength. Also His weakness.’
“In contrast to the trend in current fiction to reduce man to
a cipher, Elie Wiesel has elevated man by reminding us that
while ‘the thoughts of man’s heart are only evil continually’ man
is nevertheless ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ For Elie Wiesel’s
masterly novel, the Daroff Award is a token of our admiration
and gratitude.”
A resident of New York since 1956, Elie Wiesel is UN cor-
respondent for Israel’s
Yediot Ahronot
and a writer for
Jewish Daily Forward.
His published books include
The Accident,
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