Cover image for Twilight
Wiesel, Elie, 1928-2016
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Crbepuscule, au loin. English
Publication Information:
New York : Summit Books, [1988]

Physical Description:
pages cm
General Note:
Translation of: Le crbepuscule, au loin.
Format :

On Order



Bringing together many of the strands woven through his previous works, Wiesel takes readers into the life of Raphael Lipkin, a professor of mystical traditions who finds himself at a clinic for patients who believe themselves to be characters from the Bible and ancient history."

Author Notes

Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel was born in Sighet, Romania on September 30, 1928. In 1944, he and his family were deported along with other Jews to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. His mother and his younger sister died there. He loaded stones onto railway cars in a labor camp called Buna before being sent to Buchenwald, where his father died. He was liberated by the United States Third Army on April 11, 1945. After the war ended, he learned that his two older sisters had also survived. He was placed on a train of 400 orphans that was headed to France, where he was assigned to a home in Normandy under the care of a Jewish organization.

He was educated at the Sorbonne and supported himself as a tutor, a Hebrew teacher and a translator. He started writing for the French newspaper L'Arche. In 1948, L'Arche sent him to Israel to report on that newly founded state. He also became the Paris correspondent for the daily Yediot Ahronot. In this capacity, he interviewed the novelist Francois Mauriac, who urged him to write about his war experiences. The result was La Nuit (Night).

After the publication of Night, Wiesel became a writer, literary critic, and journalist. His other books include Dawn, The Accident, The Gates of the Forest, The Jews of Silence: A Personal Report on Soviet Jewry, and Twilight. He received a numerous awards and honors for his literary work including the William and Janice Epstein Fiction Award in 1965, the Jewish Heritage Award in 1966, the Prix Medicis in 1969, and the Prix Livre-International in 1980. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for his work in combating human cruelty and in advocating justice. He had a leading role in the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D. C. He died on July 2, 2016 at the age of 87.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Wiesel's latest novel ponders the question, Who is running the asylum? Raphael is a professor on sabbatical studying at an exclusive upstate New York asylum (the Mountain Clinic, which caters to patients whose ``schizophrenia is linked to Ancient History, to Biblical times''). Wiesel's portraits of these descendants of Adam (one actually believes himself to be Adam) bring a dark humor to this otherwise somber story. Raphael studies not only the patients and staff, but also his own past, reliving the effect of the Holocaust on his family, his own escape, and the loss of his savior, Pedro. (When Pedro stole into Russia to extract Raphael's only living brother, neither were ever seen again.) Raphael's guilt at having survived has begun to smother him, yet it is his struggle that prompts him to ask such probing questions about God, life, and death. A compelling novel. DPD. [OCLC] 88-2634

Publisher's Weekly Review

Exploring the painful affinity between life and death, sanity and madness, Nobel Laureate Wiesel draws yet again on the experiences of the Holocaust to provide an answer. At the novel's center is Raphael Lipkin, a professor who, convinced he is going mad, seeks respite from his tortured imaginings in a mental clinic where he is both a temporary staff member, exploring the relationship between madness and prophecy, and a patient. Raphael's family has disappeared into the death camps, but although he speaks to them in his dreams, it is to his absent friend Pedro that he pours out his heart, for whom he searches among the madmen in the sanitarium. Guilt obsesses him, as it must all survivors, but the particularity of his guilt resides in Pedro, who gave his life or his sanity (which for Raphael are the same) in an effort to save Raphael's brother Yoel. Poignant though the recounted suffering must in fact have been, the canvas is too broad for any single player to kindle sympathy, the expression of emotion too overblown to bring tears. Torture, death, the violence of separation are recounted in cliche-ridden prose. Yet a lingering question manages to possess the reader: Is every survivor already half dead? (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

$18.95. f Raphael Lipkin, a professor of mystical traditions and a Holocaust survivor, comes to the Mountain Clinic to study the relationship between madness and prophecy. He is seeking among these madmen, who believe they are Cain, Abraham, Joseph, the Messiah, some fragmentary truth, some fleeting epiphany. Why did he survive? ``And what about God in all this?'' In this brilliant and powerful interweaving of past and present, dream and vision, fantasy and reality, Wiesel has synthesized his earlierand ever continuingconcerns, journeying from the Holocaust world of his Night and Dawn to the twilight realm of madness, mysticism, and prophecy. Marion Wiesel's translation is perfectly attuned to her husband's absorbing style. Highly recommended. Marcia G. Fuchs, Guilford Free Lib., Ct. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



I am going mad, Pedro. I feel it. I know it. I have plunged into madness as into the sea. And I am about to sink to its depths. Infinity cannot be challenged with impunity, and madness is infinite down to its fragments. As is death. As is death. As is God. Cry for help? Here, everybody cries for help. Our voices drown, resurface, merge, and dissolve while on the outside life goes on. What am I to do, Pedro? To whom shall I turn for a little light, a little warmth? Madness is lying in wait for me and I am alone.   ***   As a boy, Raphael feared madness but was drawn to madmen. In his hometown, deep in the Carpathian Mountains, there was an asylum. That was where he spent his Shabbat afternoons. Each week he would arrive bearing fruit and sweets. And each week he would find himself looking for a certain old man, an old man with veiled eyes. Raphael remembered that on his very first visit the old man had smiled at him gently, and that he had been inexplicably moved.   "What is your name?" the old man asked as the boy was leaving.   "Raphael, Raphael Lipkin," he had answered timidly.   "Will you come see me again, Raphael?"   "Yes, sir. I'll come again."   "Thank you, my boy, You deserve a blessing. Would you like me to bless you?"   "Yes, sir, I would."   But the old man had retreated into his dreams. Emerging briefly he said, "Next time."   "Will you still be here?"   "Oh yes." The old man's voice was sad, ironic. "I'll be here even when I'm no longer here."   Raphael did not understand. But how could he? The old man was mad, and madmen put little store in being understood. Madmen can say anything without, do or undo anything, without ever having to explain. Madmen are free, totally free. Perhaps that's why Raphael found the old man appealing.   "Be careful," warned a young doctor. "This man is dangerous."   "But Doctor, he seems so gently."   "That's why he's dangerous."   Raphael refused to believe him. Still, he must have believed him a little, enough for the patient to notice. The following Shabbat the old man greeted him, a mischievous look on his still-handsome face.   "So, that's how it is. You're hiding things from me."   "Oh, no, sir. I'm not hiding anything."   "Yes, you are! I know it! They warned you against me."   "Nobody . . ."   "Hush, my boy. You must never lie to a madman. We see right through you."   "I won't lie to you ever again."   "Good. Now let's examine the situation: They told you I'm dangerous . . . right?"   "That's what they said. But . . ."   "But you don't believe it? Well, you'd better believe it. I order you to. For your own good. Madmen can be dangerous, and I more than the others: I see farther, higher than any of them. They are dangerous when they're present. I am dangerous even when I'm absent. That's why I can go on protecting you even after I'm gone. Of course, to be protected by madness can also be dangerous."   "I don't understand," said Raphael.   "Come, my boy. Let's get some air,"   The old man led Raphael to a secluded bench at the outer edge of the garden.   "Who sent you?" asked the old man.   "My . . . my parents."   "And who sent them?"   "I don't know, sir,"   For a moment, the old man lost his patience: "You don't know, you don't know. . . . One day you will have to know. . . . Fortunately, that day I'll be there to guide you."   "Guide me?" wondered Raphael. "Where?"   "Toward knowledge, my boy. Toward knowledge."   Then, for no apparent reason, he began to laugh.   "You will follow me, won't you?"   "Yes," Raphael heard himself say. "I will follow you." Excerpted from Twilight 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.