Let us be perfectly candid: this is a difficult book to read. As the child of Holocaust survivors, the now sixty-year-old Doriel Waldman is on the threshold of insanity, and heís angry to boot, ranting - often in a stream of consciousness style - to his therapist, Dr. Therese Goldschmidt. While there are gems to be unearthed from these rants, gems about manís cruelty to man and the unfairness of life, among others, the reader has to suffer through meandering prose, long, convoluted sentences, and pages and pages of monologue to find them.
This is a surprise because Wieselís debut novel, Night, was both accessible and profound. It dealt with the same theme of the Holocaust as this novel but sparkled for the immediacy of the narration and the fact that the action set-pieces kept the story moving. In A Mad Desire to Dance, though, all the action is in the back story, thereby robbing the narrative of much of its vibrancy.
Wiesel has much to say that allows us to make sense in this often unjust world. He has long been the moral compass for a world that often seems to have gone mad. Perhaps we should allow him the luxury of a misstep Ė a misstep more in the narrative style and tone of the book rather than its content.