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Arch Of Triumph
(Erich Maria Remarque)

Arch of Triumph is a novel which catches the heart beat of World War II France. It is a story of
the human heart in times where trust and love are questioned. The characters are memorable and
stay with the reader long after the last page is read. The character of Ravic is a "ghost" surgeon performing for a small fee difficult operations of wealthy society doctors. He does not like what he has to
do and he never seems to get used to the horrors of the world that exists around him. He is barely
living, and only has an animal sense of survival. He has no papers, no real identity, and if he should
get arrested, he will get deported as he has many times before. He has only one goal at the opening of
the story--revenge on the man who ruined his life, a german officer named von Haake, who tortured and
killed his girlfriend. There is also the character of Joan Madou, a singer and actress, who meets Ravic
under strange circumstances. She wanders the streets of Paris and stops by a bridge during a
rainstorm. Ravic thinks she is going to jump off the bridge and takes her aside for a drink in a local
bistro right by the Arch of Triumph. There they spark a friendship and she tells him little of her past
and spends the night with Ravic. The next day, she confesses to Ravic that her lover died under
mysterious circumstances and that is why she was wandering the streets. He takes her back to
her apartment and settles the matter with the dead body. After that is settled, she has to find a new place to live. Ravic finds her a place and Joan starts a new career as a singer. She sings in a nightclub
of one of Ravic's friends. Soon after, Ravic falls in love with Joan, but their love is short lived as
he once again finds himself in trouble with the police when he helped a young accident victim. When
questioned by the police, they asked for his papers, and he refused to give them. He was deported
and it took him three months to cross the border in France once again. Joan could not bear the
separation and when one of her friends from Italy showed up at her door, she took the opportunity
and started a new relationship with this man. When Ravic returned, Joan had changed and he tried
to restart the relationship but she was with another man. He decided to leave her alone but soon
she was curious about Ravic and confessed that she honestly thought he would not come back to France. She had a fight with her fiance and he shot her with a gun. She managed to call Ravic and
he tried to perform sugery on Joan but it was too late. Ravic confessed his true love for Joan just before she died. It is a beautiful love story of a love that was for the moment and of the times.

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