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A mad desire to dance : a novel /

by Wiesel, Elie; Temerson, Catherine.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009Edition: 1st American ed.Description: 271 p. ; 22 cm.ISBN: 9780307266507 :; 0307266508.Title notes: $25.00 2-2009 (db)Uniform titles: Désir fou de danser. English.Subject(s): Holocaust survivors -- Fiction | Children of Holocaust survivors -- Fiction | Mothers and sons -- Fiction | Dybbuk -- Fiction | Counselor and client -- Fiction | Immigrants -- New York (State) -- New York -- Fiction | New York (N.Y.) -- Fiction | Psychological fictionSummary: Sixty year-old Doriel Waldman, a Polish Jew born in 1936, is on the verge of insanity until Dr. Thérèse Goldschmidt draws him out with his story of surviving the Holocaust in hiding with his father while his mother made a reputation for herself in the Polish resistance--only to die in an accident shortly after the war.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.

$25.00 2-2009 (db)

"A Borzoi book"--T.p. verso.

Sixty year-old Doriel Waldman, a Polish Jew born in 1936, is on the verge of insanity until Dr. Thérèse Goldschmidt draws him out with his story of surviving the Holocaust in hiding with his father while his mother made a reputation for herself in the Polish resistance--only to die in an accident shortly after the war.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

<opt> <anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">She has dark eyes and the smile of a frightened child. I searched for her all my life. Was it she who saved me from the silent death that characterizes resignation to solitude? And from madness in its terminal phase, terminal as we refer to cancer when incurable? Yes, the kind of madness in which one can find refuge, if not salvation? Madness is what I'll talk to you about--madness burdened with memories and with eyes like everyone else's, though in my story the eyes are like those of a smiling child trembling with fear. You'll ask: Is a madman who knows he's mad really mad? Or: In a mad world, isn't the madman who is aware of his madness the only sane person? But let's not rush ahead. If you had to describe a madman, how would you portray him? As a marblefaced stranger? Smiling but without joy, his nerves on edge; when he goes into a trance, his limbs move about and all his thoughts collide; time and again, he has electrical discharges, not in his brain but in his soul. Do you like this portrait? Let's continue. How can we talk about madness except by using the specific language of those who carry it within themselves? What if I told you that within each of us, whether in good health or bad, there is a hidden zone, a secret region that opens out onto madness? One misstep, one unfortunate blow of fate, is enough to make us slip or flounder with no hope of ever rising up again. Careless mistakes, an impaired memory or errors of judgment, can provoke a series of falls. It then becomes impossible to make ourselves understood by those we call--rather foolishly--kindred souls. If you will not grant me this, I will have a serious problem, but you must not feel sorry for me. Tears sometimes leave furrows, but never very deep ones--in any case, not deep enough. There, this is what you have to know for a start. That said, since I'm eager to tell you everything, you should know that I'll be telling you this story without any concern for chronology. You'll be made to discover many different periods of time and many different places in a haphazard fashion. What can I say? The madman's time is not always the same as the so-called normal man's. For instance, let's begin this narrative five years ago, in the office of Thérèse Goldschmidt, a healer of souls, well paid--I'll tell you how well later--thanks to her vast knowledge. She expects to prod me into knowing the dark, innermost recesses of my ego, in order to help me live with myself without my dybbuk, but that's an assumption to which I plan to return. Later on I'll talk to you about Thérèse; I'll talk about her at length. Inevitable Thérèse, there is no way around her. She's the one who made me talk. It's her profession. She spends her life probing the unconscious--that strongbox and trash bin of knowledge and experience, those subterranean archives that can and must be deciphered--and asking childish or harebrained questions. And in my case, these questions summoned not answers but stories. Why do people make fun of madmen? Because they upset people? Didn't Molière mock the hypochondriac? Doesn't the man who believes he is ill need treatment? Am I way off the beam? I don't think I'm completely irrational. Is being mad being disabled? Can one speak of a gana mad desire to dance grened mind, of thought beaten to death, of a mutilated, damned soul? Can one be mad in happiness as in misfortune? Can someone take vows of madness as one takes religious vows, or devotes one's life to poetry? Can a person slip breathlessly into madness with a slow, muffled tread, as if to avoid disturbing some secret demon feigning absence or asceticism? At times I'm afraid of shutting my eyes, for I see an unreal world Excerpted from A Mad Desire to Dance by Elie Wiesel All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon> </opt>

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Doriel Waldman, a reclusive and scholarly European Jew living in New York City, has tried to block out the nightmarish events of the 20th century by retreating into the world of medieval Jewish history. He is a student of Jewish traditions and the Jewish community, but he is incapable of forming relationships. Now, at age 60, he is so lonely and depressed that he fears his soul has been stolen by a dybbuk. In desperation, he decides to try traditional psychoanalysis but proves to be an extremely difficult patient, arguing with his female therapist every step of the way, just as he has argued with God. He is especially reluctant to discuss his parents, who died in a car crash just after World War II. The therapy novel is a distinct genre, and Wiesel takes full advantage of the format by gradually revealing the important traumas in Doriel's life and illuminating them with extracts from the therapist's notebooks. Originally published in France, this dense and difficult novel expands on some of the provocative themes in Nobel Prize winner Wiesel's celebrated memoir, Night. For larger fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/08.]-Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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