Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Erich Maria Remarque!

Today is the 112th birthday of one of my favorite fiction writers, Erich Maria Remarque. Remarque is famous for writing All Quiet on the Western Front, but his later works are just as tragically beautiful. I became a die-hard Remarque fan in high school, and All Quiet on the Western Front and its "sequel," The Road Back, are two of the most influential books I've ever read. There's only been a handful of writers who I can honestly claim have changed my life, and Remarque is one of them, introducing me to anti-war literature just as the Iraq War was starting. He's long been under-appreciated as a novelist, but he'll always have my vote as one of the best.

If you're interested in learning more about Remarque, his story is really quite fascinating. He survived World War I as a German soldier, took on the Nazis, and spent most of his life in exile from his home country.

Side Note: When F. Scott Fitzgerald was a Hollywood screenwriter at the end of his life, he only received screen credit for one movie: a film adaptation of Remarque's novel Three Comrades. I love this random connection between two of my favorite writers!


  1. Ironically, today the AV Club is reporting that Daniel Radcliffe (aka Harry Potter) will be starring in the new film adaptation of "All Quiet on the Western Front." I'm not against this news. Mostly it just makes me say, "Him?"

  2. I am so happy to stumble upon your beautiful words about Erich Maria Remarque. I couldn't agree with you more.

    I'm only a recent Remarque devotee, and I totally agree with you. I just re-read All Quiet, finished Road Back and am towards the end of Three Comrades, all very powerful and deeply moving. (I've collected all eleven novels and am committed to read them all in the order in which they were written -- the better to follow Remarque's evolution as a writer, I think.)

    The reason I've taken such a recent interest is that I am a designer, recently commissioned by Random House to design new covers for their upcoming reissue of all the Remarque novels. He was so popular in his day (with movies made of several of his books) but sadly overlooked now. With any luck, my covers might entice some new readers. He deserves it; Remarque should be on the same must-read lists as Hemingway and Fitzegerald.