Featured vintage review selection (week of January 4, 2013)
Email this review
Note from Kirkus' Vintage Review Editor:

After the inexplicable and tragic killings at Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook Elementary School last month, many looked to God for answers. In 1976, Elie Wiesel published Messengers of God, a classic look at Job (and seven other Biblical characters). All of these characters grapple with their relationship with God and the question of his justice. In this starred review, Kirkus notes that “Wiesel's concern with the imponderables of fate seems to move from strength to strength.”


Wiesel has never allowed himself to be diverted from the role of witness for the martyred Jews and survivors of the Holocaust, and by extension for all those who through the centuries have asked Job's question: "What is God doing and where is His justice?" Here in a masterful series of mythic portraits, drawing upon Bible tales and the Midrashim (a body of commentary), Wiesel explores "the distant and haunting figures that molded him": Adam, Cain and Abel, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Job. With the dramatic invention of a Father Mapple and the exquisite care of a Talmudic scholar, Wiesel interprets the wellsprings of Jewish religious tradition as the many faces of man's greatness facing the inexplicable. In an intimate relationship with God it is possible to complain, to demand. Adam and Eve in sinning "cried out" against the injustice of their entrapment; Cain assaulted God rather than his brother; and Abraham's agreement to sacrifice his son placed the burden of guilt on Him who demanded it. As for Job, Wiesel concludes that he abdicated his defiance as did the confessing Communists of Stalin's time to "underline the implausibility" of his trial, and thus become the accuser. Wiesel's concern with the imponderables of fate seems to move from strength to strength.
Pub Date: May 26th, 1976
ISBN: 067154134X
Page count: 262pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1976


NonfictionNIGHT by Elie Wiesel
by Elie Wiesel
NonfictionOPEN HEART by Elie Wiesel
by Elie Wiesel
FictionHOSTAGE by Elie Wiesel
by Elie Wiesel