26 January, 2017

REVIEW: THE NIGHT IN LISBON by Erich Maria Remarque

Title: The Night in Lisbon
Author: Erich Maria Remarque
Series: -
Genres: Historical Fiction, War, Classics
Publisher: Random House
Release: 1998
Source: Audiobook
Pages: 272

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History and fate collide as the Nazis rise to power in The Night in Lisbon, a classic tale of survival from the renowned author of All Quiet on the Western Front.

With the world slowly sliding into war, it is crucial that enemies of the Reich flee Europe at once. But so many routes are closed, and so much money is needed. Then one night in Lisbon, as a poor young refugee gazes hungrily at a boat bound for America, a stranger approaches him with two tickets and a story to tell.

It is a harrowing tale of bravery and butchery, daring and death, in which the price of love is beyond measure and the legacy of evil is infinite. As the refugee listens spellbound to the desperate teller, in a matter of hours the two form a unique and unshakable bond—one that will last all their lives.

“The world has a great writer in Erich Maria Remarque. He is a craftsman of unquestionably first rank, a man who can bend language to his will. Whether he writes of men or of inanimate nature, his touch is sensitive, firm, and sure.”—The New York Times Book Review

EXPECTATIONS: So I know Historical Fiction is more of Martyna's area of expertise but I saw an audiobook of The Night in Lisbon and somehow I ended up listening to it.

THE WORLD: It is the time or World War II, the year of 1939 if I remember correctly. Nazis have Germany and are about to start a war. People are running to Switzerland as well as other countries for escape. Really this book is actually divided in two time lines, one is when Germany is ruled by Nazis and other when war is happening. It is kinda hard to explain to be honest. Basically we are in Lisbon where American ships are taking refugees to USA. Our main character Schwarz meets a man and gives his tickets away in exchange for him listening to his story. And that is how we go back to Nazi Germany and flashbacks of Schwarz.

CHARACTERS: So despite the stranger listening to the story he is not the main character in this book. It is actually a man who is telling the story, Schwarz who is the main one. He was a German who was given away by his brother in law, went to concentration camp and upon release ran to Switzerland. But eventually he decided to go back to Germany to his wife. Just to see her again. I liked Schwarz, he had this weird vibe sometimes. I was not really sure if he was in love or just a little bit mad and a little bit desperate. I mean he was an interesting character to get to know but at the same time he was a bit unreliable, or at least that's how I felt. His wife on the other hand...I don't know maybe it was just me but I felt like I was reading about Greta Garbo, if you have seen her movies you know what I mean.

ROMANCE: This whole story is based on love, how Schwarz goes back to Nazi Germany to see his wife and ends up running away with her. I am not sure why but I felt like watching Casablanca once again.

GOOD: I like books about Nazi Germany. Not necessary where we only see black and white but still. Plus the fact that Remarque was German himself gives me a little bit new perspective when it comes to this book.

BAD: I could not shake Casablance feeling here. I mean seriously, I was listening to the book and Casablanca was playing in my head. It is not even THAT similar but for some reason I can not differentiate.  

OVERALL: It was not the best historical fiction I have read but it is the first book of Remarque and I am intrigued to read more of his work. Especially War related, after all who writes it best than a man who was in Nazi Germany himself.

What do you think about THE NIGHT IN LISBON?