Er schafft es jedoch, Helen aus Nazi-Deutschland und aus ihrer faschistisch eingestellten Familie zu befreien, und flieht mit ihr. Es war eine Arche. Wer von hier das Gelobte Land Amerika nicht erreichen konnte, war verloren. Es war nicht weit. Sie sangen ein Lied, das ich nicht kannte.

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Remarque is of course best known for his great anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front. But he was in no way a one-hit wonder. He remained a significant popular and to my mind, literary novelist throughout his life. He was also a fierce anti-fascist. Oh, his sister was also opponent of the regime, but her famous brother was on their mind when they shipped her to the infamous Plotzensee Prison.

The main character, "Schwarz," is also a man without a country. He has also spent some time in a German concentration camp, and has lived a shadow life on the borders of France and Switzerland.

In an act that is as crazy as it is courageous, he returns to Germany to see his wife Helen who, unknown to him, is terminally ill with cancer. Schwarz and Helen have been separated from each other for five years. This act, which involves swimming the Rhine, is a transformative one.

Up until that time Swartz had evidently been something of a wordy pedant, which had led, at least in part, to the separation. Helen is more interested in action, and despises "bourgeois stagnation. I took the emptiest streets to the cathedral. It was not far. In Krahnstrasse a company of marching soldiers passed me.

They were singing a song I did not know. On the Domplatz there were more soldiers. A little farther off, by the three crosses of the Little Church, a crowd had gathered -- two or three hundred people, most of them in party uniform. Finally my eyes lit on a black loudspeaker propped up on a platform.

It stood there under a light, naked and alone, an automaton, screaming about the right to reconquer every inch of German soil, the Greater Germany, revenge. At one point they take up residence in an abandoned castle. Eventually Helen and Schwarz are captured by the French police, and sent to separate refugee camps. Sad and romantic stuff, and I loved every page of it.

Remarque may be a romantic, but he also poses the Big Question of existence. It may be inexact, but he reminds me a lot of Camus. They have similar Human hearts. The frame is basically this refugee listening to Schwarz tell his tale. Highly recommended.


{Rezension} Die Nacht von Lissabon von Erich Maria Remarque

Je zwenkt in de boeken van Remarque mee tussen hoop en wanhoop, veroordeelt en ontkracht, blijft gekluisterd aan de tekst mede door de, zeker voor die tijd, originele vorm en uitwerking. Zo ook in De nacht in Lissabon. Het is Een Duitse emigrant van Joodse afkomst heeft ten einde raad geprobeerd om in het casino van Estoril zijn schamele vermogen te vergroten.


Die Nacht von Lissabon



„Die Nacht von Lissabon“ von Erich Maria Remarque


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