Arch of Triumph (novel)

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Arch of Triumph
First US edition
AuthorErich Maria Remarque
Original titleArc de Triomphe
TranslatorWalter Sorell and Denver Lindley
CountryUnited States
GenreWar novel
PublisherAppleton-Century (US)
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover & paperback)
Pages455 pp

Arch of Triumph (German: Arc de Triomphe) is a 1945 novel by Erich Maria Remarque about stateless refugees in Paris before World War II. It was his second worldwide bestseller after All Quiet on the Western Front,[1] written during his exile in the United States (1939–1948). It was made into a feature film in 1948 and remade as a television film in 1985.

Plot summary[edit]

Set in 1939, and, despite having no permission to perform surgery, Ravic, a very accomplished German surgeon and a stateless refugee living in Paris, has been ghost-operating on patients for two years on the behalf of two less skillful French physicians.

Unwilling to return to Nazi Germany, which has stripped him of his citizenship, and unable to legally exist anywhere else in pre-war western Europe, Ravic manages to hang on. He is one of many displaced persons without passports or any other documents, who live under a constant threat of being captured and deported from one country to the next, and back again.

Though Ravic has given up on the possibility of love, life has a curious way of taking a turn for the romantic, even during the worst of times, as he cautiously befriends an actress.

Relationship to other works[edit]

Remarque's earlier novel Flotsam is also about the life of stateless individuals. The character Ravic also makes a brief appearance in Remarque's novel, Shadows in Paradise.