THE NIGHT IN LISBON by Erich Maria Remarque


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All through the night in Lisbon, the man who has assumed the ""strange, dead name"" of Schwarz tells his story covering the years of exile and escape (1938 on) to an unknown stranger who in return for listening will receive two tickets and passports to America-for himself and his wife. Hazing over some of the realities, this ""wanderer, impostor, ghost.."" ""on a narrow strip of moonlit life"" crosses borders and is in and out of internment and concentration camps; first as he goes back into Germany to see his wife, Helen, then later as he meets her in Zurich, and still later as they are both arrested and separated. Together again, they go from Bordeaux to Biarritz, where he learns that Helen is dying of cancer; they travel on to Marseille, and finally to Libson where on one of their last nights together, they go to the casino (Helen in her ""evening dress from Paris"" which has travelled with her through all this?). Escape now seems possible, but she slips away ""into the arms of the most ruthless of lovers"". This is limp with romantic despair and frayed cynicism making the experience of dislocation and the concentration camps more acceptable to an audience which has avoided it before (Schwarz-Bart, Alchinger, etc. etc.). Remarque's old following will find that it has a certain urgency without perhaps pausing to wonder whether it is as real as it is readable.

Pub Date: March 25th, 1964
ISBN: 0449912434
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World