Evil and Exile

Revised Edition

Michaël de Saint Cheron and Elie Wiesel
Translated by Jon Rothschild and Jody Gladding

“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.” -Publishers Weekly

“Two themes dominate this book: change and meaning. These form the context of six days of questions posed by Saint Cheron to Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. Contained here are probably the most comprehensive statements that Wiesel has ever made on Jewish theology, although he labels it as tradition (thought and quest) as distinguished from the more formalized theology of Christianity.”-Spirituality Today

Elie Wiesel is the author of more than twenty books, including Night, Souls on Fire, Messengers of God, Four Hasidic Masters and Their Struggle Against Melancholy (Notre Dame Press, 1978), and Five Biblical Portraits (Notre Dame Press, 1981).

Michaël de Saint Cheron is an archivist with the Museum of France and a well-known author and journalist. The premier specialist on Elie Wiesel in the French language, Michaël de Saint Cheron is also a member of the French PEN club and works in the office of the Ile de France regional cultural affairs in Paris.



“M. de Saint-Cheron has come with questions only about evil, a universal problem , and exile, an endemically Jewish question, but also about the whole gamut of Jewish existence, past, present, and future…. As a result, the reader is fortunate to share Mr. Wiesel’s thoughts. It is a privilege to see the breadth of his Jewish involvement, commitment, and understanding. It is almost awesome as he talks of his activities, writings, and experience.” — Science and Technology

“His [Wiesel] thoughts on evil, love, responsibility, life, death and Judeo-Christian relations as well as his comments on the extermination of over six million Jews give testimony to his own deep belief in God. Phillipe de Saint-Cheron’s insightful questions expand the interviews to a deeper discussion of Wiesel’s writings, his comments on the writings of such authors as Unamuno, Kafka, and Mauriac, and his interpretations of the scriptures. Evil and Exile is a most powerful book recommended for students of Wiesel and all readers who are concerned with the defense of human rights. —Charles Snyder, Church and Synagogue Library Assn.

“It will not be long before readers come to realize that like Dante and Balzac, Wiesel is the creator of a comprehensive, unified oeuvre that reveals the path taken by an intellect – in the face of unprecedental odds – trying to travel toward God at the same time it tries to reach an understanding of man. One of the pleasures in reading Wiesel is the feeling one gets of being engaged in conversation with a warm human being. The tension created by this contradiction is one of the things that makes this book so interesting. What makes it indepensible is the way Wiesel chooses to respond. — Hadassah Magazine

“Wiesel offers wise counsel in this volume concerning evil and suffering, life, and death, chance and circumstance.” — Times Outlook Magazine

“Throughout this book, Wiesel’s understanding of the human condition offers both an honest assessment and also hope that we may learn to live with one another in harmony.” — The Jewish Book News

“Saint-Cheron probes deeply, asking searching questions about evil, responsibility, faith, and the meaning of life as well as addressing topics of current political import. Wiesel responds passionately, offering, many penetrating, personal comments.” — Library Journal