Yesterday I finished the war novel, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, classic novel number 11, and as the title of this post suggests, its words spoke loudly. Life, death, friends, and family; all were present, woven together to create a story that one can take a multitude of feelings and reactions from.
While I read over the words and let the the scenes sink into my mind, I could imagine myself walking or running or crawling next to Paul and his friends as an invisible observer. Remarque only gave so much detail, the important ones, and left the rest to the reader. At least that’s what I felt like he did. I certainly felt like I could see everything, even the details he didn’t divulge.
I had a lot of sympathy for Paul, starting out young with little life experience, thrown into the wildness of war. The end was unexpected, like a sound reverberating through a silent morning, when all are supposed to be still asleep. But just like the sound, within a second it’s over and gone, and you continue on. It was a slightly sad ending, but one that I understand.
I am definitely glad that I chose this novel to be on the list and that I read it after Catch-22.
Next up? The Stranger by Camus.