SHADOWS IN PARADISE by Erich Maria Remarque


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The early and the late Remarque is a little like the early and the late Picasso -- not as much of a stretcher as it sounds since this, his last book, is as much about the art business as anything else. ""Pictures are refugees like yourself. You refugees often end up in strange places."" Take Robert Ross, now in America via a concentration camp and two years of hiding in a museum where he developed an eye, so that when he first sees a Chinese bronze in a small shop he knows that it's genuine. Later Ross goes to work for an Impressionist dealer Silvers; he also falls in love with Natasha, but not enough; he goes to Hollywood for a little while; he leaves America for good. Remarque has certainly underplotted this almost to the same extent that he overplotted his later works but then there's that lambent gray romanticism (""Then come and tell me you'll always love me and that we'll never be any older"") which dusts this refugee world he knew so well of displaced temporaries cadging here, hiding there, traveling light. So does this, but needless to say it will be read and it's not hard to do so. Although one can never overcome the impression that everything which Remarque wrote as Malcolm Cowley said more than forty years ago was ""created primarily for the Western trade, to sell among the heathen like colored glass.

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 1971
ISBN: 0449912485
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich