Monday, February 7, 2011

All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western FrontAll Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
Evan’s ESS = 7 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = R (Violence, Adult Content, Violence, Not-so-Quiet Western Front)

“We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces.  The first bomb, the first explosion, burst in our hearts.  We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress.  We believe in such things no longer, we believe in the war.”

Why: Wow. As it turns out, the title is a little misleading as the western front is anything but quiet.  In truth, it’s hard to even know where to begin. 

All Quiet on the Western Front is an account of WWI through the lens of a 19 year old German boy.  Paul Bäumer and his friends join the army and are quickly knee-deep in the most violent fighting imaginable.  What follows is both unapologetic and intense as Paul struggles mentally and physically to reconcile the horrors of war.  At its release the book was banned in Nazi Germany, while at the same time selling 2.5 million copies in over 25 languages.  Funny how that works...   

For us, All Quiet on the Western Front was jaw dropping.  We knew very little about this novel before the reading and were unprepared for the morbidly serious tone.  It was well worth our time however, as it presented a fantastic glimpse into WWI.  The novel was both psychologically and physically stimulating as we watched the main character struggle to adapt back into civilian life.  We certainly don’t claim to be war novel aficionados, but every now and then we like to dip our proverbial big toe in the water.  In the case of Remarque’s novel, the water is nice and warm, if not a little hot… and quite full of waves, like a big literary boat just passed through. Whatever that means...

No comments:

Post a Comment