cover image Evil and Exile

Evil and Exile

Elie Wiesel, Philippe De Saint-Cheron. University of Notre Dame Press, $29 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-268-00922-9

God may be unjust but is never indifferent, speculates Wiesel in these brilliant, intense interviews conducted in 1987 with French journalist de Saint-Cheron. The eminent Holocaust scholar and novelist ranges widely over Jewish-Christian relations, anti-Semitism, politics, Hasidism and Jewish thought. He is critical of Gorbachev's policy of Jewish emigration, of Pope John Paul II's meeting with Kurt Waldheim and of the Vatican's nonrecognition of the state of Israel. On the Holocaust, Wiesel urges faith and conciliation rather than forgiveness or vengeance. He reports on widespread anti-Jewish prejudice in Japan, and terms ``outrageous'' assertions that the AIDS epidemic is a consequence of sin. He urges Jews to cooperate with the liberal movement within Christianity that seeks a rapprochement with Judaism. He also discusses the contributions of other writers to his vision--Kafka's sense of exile, Dostoyevsky's preoccupation with evil, Miguel de Unamuno's ordeal of doubt. (June)