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He had changed his name from Remark to its original French spelling, added the middle name Maria and then purchased a title from an impoverished nobleman, although he seemed to have quickly seen this as a mistake. He was a playboy who courted beautiful actresses, drank heavily and raced sports cars. He was not political and before achieving fame had worked for a right-wing nationalist publisher who used his magazines to promote Hitler and the National Socialists.

While the literary elite begrudgingly admitted that All Quiet on the Western Front was an achievement, some criticized its simple prose style, much admired by others, and pointed out the potboiler plots and sentimentality of Remarque's follow-up novels in which, it seemed, the heroine was always doomed.

Remarque was more respected by the literary establishment outside his homeland and most of the reviewers were impressed by "Arch of Triumph. He wrote in the daily paper that Arch of Triumph was Remarque's "most mature and thoughtful, his most deftly contrived and his saddest.

It is also completely engrossing and often unashamedly flamboyant and theatrical. Overall, he believed the novel could have done with some tightening, but it was good enough, in his opinion, for him to include it innhis end of the year ten best list. His critique was generally positive but he expressed more reservations than his colleague. He faulted Remarque for choosing theatricality over credibility but conceded that this might have been necessary to capture the attention of readers who otherwise would have been bored with the oft-told story of the suffering of the refugees.

The review in The New Yorker was from associate editor and novelist Hamilton Basso rather than the magazine's chief literary critic, Edmund Wilson.

Literature Help: Novels: Plot Overview 426: Arch of Triumph

Basso wrote that Arch of Triumph was the "first novel I have read with sustained interest in quite some time. He praised the strong narrative drive but wrote that it was the fascinating characters who made the book. Remarque's bed-hopping heroine, who seemed to him to have stepped out of a Hemingway novel, was for him the exception.

In his version a screenwriter named Aspic has been driven from Hollywood by the studio powers into the life of a hunted animal. He is forced to teach English as an unlicensed substitute to young women at the Brearly School. Otherwise, he stays mostly to himself, his best friend being a Russian emigre named Boris Frank Finlay , who is a doorman at a nightclub. But then, unexpectedly, Ravic's life gets complicated. He begins an affair with Joan after finding her on a bridge and talking her out of committing suicide. And, by chance on a crowded street, Ravic spots the Gestapo chief Haake Donald Pleasence , the man who has sent him to the concentration camp.

Overlapping games of cat and mouse begin. Ravic is drawn to Joan but cannot fully commit himself to anyone, although she insists he is the only man she has ever loved, even as she flirts and schemes with others. And Ravic is determined to find and kill Haake. Waris Hussein, the director, seems to be telling the story as a bad dream that occasionally erupts into a nightmare.

Much of the action takes place in darkened clubs or seedy hotel rooms.

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Arch of Triumph (novel) - Wikipedia

One scene has Ravic sitting by himself at a table in a nightclub. Nov 09, Ellen rated it it was ok. I put this book aside to read A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains but I was already getting tired of it and I'm not in the mood to finish it right now. He had been a surgeon in Germany but as he is living illegally without papers, he has to take whatever work a few French doctors give him work that they don't want to do such as trying to save a woman's life after a botched abortion. I found this all very I put this book aside to read A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains but I was already getting tired of it and I'm not in the mood to finish it right now.

I found this all very interesting, how he had to live a solitary life, on the fringe and under the radar. Then he falls in love and its just blah blah blah about what love really is and can we ever really be happy and who is going to leave the other one firt. I know Remarque is well regarded All Quiet On The Western Front and I feel a bit like "who am I to criticize" but these two characters just went round and round in circles and I lost interest. View all 8 comments. Mar 18, Cheryl Kennedy rated it it was amazing. The darkness of nights mask the arrival of refugees from Germany to hotel rooms and abandoned flats by Parisians reading the headlines warning of a second catastrophe in just twenty years.

The suspense is palpable as Ravic's existence as an undocumented surgeon builds. This story like Remarque's "All Quite on the Western Front" tells the cautionary tale of the costs of war to the lives of human beings.

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As normality becomes unrecognizable, choices evaporate, what is left of the spirit? Who will hold to their own values under maximum stress? I especially was drawn to the author's simple, direct phrasing of the story in contrast to the complexity of the circumstances of war. Highly Recommended Aug 16, Lora Grigorova rated it it was amazing. Even on the verge of a second World War, people are still fighting the same problems — hatred, jealousy, envy — and people are still able to love — completely, selflessly, passionately. A certain disillusionment hovers in the air; the exiles leave by habit, surviving every day as if it might be their last.

One of these nameless, faceless souls is Ravic, a German doctor hiding in Paris. Fascism has taken everything from him — his home, his practice, his passport, his identity, his belief, and even his ability to love. Arch of Triumph is a story of the difficult path of spiritual, moral and physical preservation in a world of political persecution and uncertainty of what tomorrow might bring. Nov 21, Signe rated it it was amazing. I was blown away by this book. It is very old and still it touches on some things that are universal and beyond restraints such as time. It's set in the illegal refugee community in Paris during the second world war, and the protagonist is a not too sympathetic doctor, who practises illegally for pittances, drinks himself down more or less every night because of his insomnia, has casual relationships when he doesn't play chess with a Russian refugee friend of his, has countless political discuss I was blown away by this book.

It's set in the illegal refugee community in Paris during the second world war, and the protagonist is a not too sympathetic doctor, who practises illegally for pittances, drinks himself down more or less every night because of his insomnia, has casual relationships when he doesn't play chess with a Russian refugee friend of his, has countless political discussions and can't seem to stop thinking about all the really big issues of life. As a black cloud over the illegal community is the ever-present risk of getting found out and deported to Nazi Germany, torture and death. I don't know what happened to Remarque when he wrote this book, because it far, far better than anything else I have read by him.

May 29, Rick Slane rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: everyone. Shelves: fiction , romance , classics , german-literature , historical-fiction , literary-fiction , novels , want-more-like-this , history. Paris is always popular.

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The prose in this translation is often poetic. WWII is looming and almost everyone knows it. A great deal of alcohol is consumed. Apr 01, Jonnu rated it it was amazing. I'm just going to say that 'til now this is my favourite book of all times.. Dec 17, S. Rediscovering the books that I read when I was too young. Read in 2 nights. One of my favourite books definitely.


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It was like I could almost feel how the author felt when he was writing it. Everything is so complicated and yet brought to us so simply. Must read.

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Feb 22, Bettie rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Laura, Wanda. Shelves: film-only , winter , published , translation , gulp , nazi-related , wwii , france , tbr-busting , france-paris. Bettie's Books. Aug 05, Mariya rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction , remarque , german-literature. Reading this novel was devastating, heartbreaking, and heartwarming.