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The Black Obelisk [Paperback]

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Item description for The Black Obelisk by Erich Maria Remarque...

Life in a small German town during the great inflation in 1923. A continuation of "The Road back." Entertaining, philosophical and funny: Remarque at his best.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   444
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 9.25" Height: 5.75"
Weight:   1.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   Simon Publications
ISBN  1931541906  
ISBN13  9781931541909  

Availability  0 units.

More About Erich Maria Remarque

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Erich Maria Remarque, who was born in Germany, was drafted into the German army during World War I. Through the hazardous years following the war he worked at many occupations: schoolteacher, small-town drama critic, race-car driver, editor of a sports magazine. His first novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, was published in Germany in 1928. A brilliant success, selling more than a million copies, it was the first of many literary triumphs. When the Nazis came to power, Remarque left Germany for Switzerland. He rejected all attempts to persuade him to return, and as a result he lost his German citizenship, his books were burned, and his films banned. He went to the United States in 1938 and became a citizen in 1947. He later lived in Switzerland with his second wife, the actress Paulette Goddard. He died in September 1970.

Erich Maria Remarque was born in 1898 and died in 1970.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Black Obelisk?

Weltschmerz, nostalgia and Irony  Jul 10, 2008
After few world war II novels he wrote, Remarque went back to hyper-inflation Weimar Republic in his home town Osnabruck.(although he used different name ,but we know that it's thin disguise). Protagonist of the book is Ludwig Bodmer ; 25 year old war veteran who works in his comrade Georg Kroll's tombstone company. While reading the book, it's not hard to know that Bodmer is no other than Remarque himself and book itself is successful and fabulously rich author's nostalgic auto- biography. Although aspiring to be poet, Ludwig's life is full of every day drab reality which is only worsens time passes mostly by nightmarish and surreal hyper inflation and political unreset derived from it. the only real or unreal part of his life is sunday mass in a local mental asylum where Ludwig works as an organ player for the sake of not only a bottle of wine but also aberration from his trivial existence.
There is a clear demarcation line here between Ludwig's everyday life and his time with inmmate Genevieve Terhoben a.k.a Isabell. Some readers will find the dialogue between two are utterly meaningless and a bit down part of the book however, I find their series of dialogue and Remarque's intentional description of Ludwig's behavior after brief meeing with Isabelle truly makes him more than a writer of "Trivial Literature" ,since there is fairly skillful usage of contrast .Moreover, the part truly evokes the nostalgia and melancholy of lost time. In speaking of Remarque's use of contrast is not limited in Ludwig's life , but also between various charaters. Georg and Heinrich Kroll,Bambus and Hungermann,Isabel and Genevive, Wernicke and Bodendick.

One of the strongest point of this work is its humor and lively but bizzare characters as well as his skill to let characters develop themselves. That really works in this work. the other good point is that the this work encompasses the gamut of "ordinary" German live in a small city during the tumultous time so vividly.There are a couple episode that duly shows how terrible the notorous Weimar inflation was. Irony also works quite well. Shamful urinating of ex-non com Knopf on Black Obelisk symbolizes the true reason of demise of once stable Wilhelmian society .Also,the last deal Ludwig makes on Black Obelisk contains Remarque's sarcasm on modern Germany. The epilogue also shows how Remarque was throughly disillusioned by post-wwII Germany. The book has no prominent plot ,but as I said earlier it does not need any plot, because it was nothing other than the author's auto-biography. It's a very fine work and I strongly believe that it is Remarque's best work. It is unjustly underrated work ,so are all other Remarque's work. Read it. you won't regret .
Remarque at his finest  Jan 25, 2008
I am a big fan of Erich Maria Remarque. I would even go as far as to say he is my favorite writer of all time. I have read most of his books, but there are a few I have held off on to give me something to look forward to later in life, The Black Obelisk was one of those. Before I read The Black Obelisk, The Arch of Triumph and The Three Comrades tied for my favorite Remarque book. Now that I have read The Black Obelisk I can say without a doubt that it is my absolute favorite. It is a very intelligent book, and a rarity for a Remarque novel that it ends on an upbeat note(well,as upbeat as an ending can be with the impending doom of WWII shadowing over it).

If you like Remarque's books, you will find that The Black Obelisk does not disappoint. If you have never read a novel by Remarque before, this is a good one to begin with.
Perhaps Remarque's best?  Jul 15, 2004
If All Quiet on the Western Front is about those who died, The Black Obelisk is about those who survived. Ludwig has returned home to Germany after the war. He is a stonemason. The company's big order is for a monument to honour the small towns war dead: the black obelisk. The mode of the book is a gentle melancholy. Ludwig survived the trenches, most of his friends died, part of him died with them. Wise beyond his years, he sees how the German's fail to rise up from defeat. Instead they fall to petty bickering, thus setting the stage for the rise of nazism. Instead of being a tribute to those who fell, the black obelisk becomes an ominous pointer to what lies ahead.
Remarque's Best, My Favorite Book  Nov 30, 2000
This novel isn't for everyone but it is my favorite. Remarque does a wondrous job creating vivid characters in a small German city in the early 20s. Hyper-inflation, depression and a nation in despair after the humiliation and torment of the Great War, are well told themes. Ludwig is able to find humor through all this and although there is little plot, there is a great story-line. For me, this novel also explains how the horrible economic conditions could so rile a populace, that the small-minded minority embraces Hitler.

Remarque wrote one of the greatest war novels of all time, told great stories of on the run emigrees, and concentration camp horrors, but this book explains pre-Hitler life and thinking in Germany, and is a must read for any Remarque fan.

The Black Obelisk  Nov 18, 2000
This is one of my favorite books of all time. It definitely is a slow read, and really this is the only time I've ever thought of a book as one to be savored. Ludwig, the main character, is sensitive, genuine and astute, with an incredible sense of humor that is often surprising. I was really touched by this book. It exposes people for what they are, as it exposes life in those times. Absolutely incredible, but take it slow.

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