When I returned a library book to Camberley Library on its last day before closing for repair until the end of February 2016, I reported that they said I could have up to 20 books on loan.
I took as many as I could carry – nine in total. Enthused to get reading with such a pile of books, I began with ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ by Erich Remarque.
It’s a remarkable novel about a group of boys in their late teens facing the horrors and terrors of war. While the author served in the German army on the Western Front in World War 1, it’s not his biography, nor is it a story of soldiers heroism. At no point in the novel is the word enemy mentioned.
The story is about the naivety of youth, the struggle to find a purpose to their lives on the front line. Essentially it’s about life, and how to avoid death.
Written in German in the late 1920’s by Erich Remarque. It stands as a moving story about war. While written from a German perspective, the main character – Paul Bäumer who narrates the story, sees his and his friends struggles to be the same as those on the other side of the front line. The story is wonderfully translated by Arthur Wesley Wheen.
The book is better for being a novel as it affords Remarque the opportunity to describe his characters thoughts on the war, the life they’ve left behind, and their worries about what life will hold for them at the end of the war.
SparkNotes has more about the novel, its characters, plot, and metaphors.
PS: I’ll post a review on the second book later.