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The Promised Land

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The final, previously unpublished novel by the author of All Quiet on the Western Front – a dreamlike, powerfully moving account of an emigrant’s experience of New York during World War II. From the detention centre on Ellis Island, Ludwig Somner looks across a small stretch of water to the glittering towers of New York, which whisper seductively of freedom after so many years of wandering through a perlious, suffering Europe. Remarque’s final novel, left unfinished at his death, tells of the precarious life of the refugee – life lived in hotel lobbies, on false passports, the strange, ill-assorted refugee community held together by an unspeakable past. For Somner, each new luxury – ice cream served in drugstores, bright shop windows, art, a new suit, a new romance – has a bittersweet edge. Memories of war and inhumanity continue to resurface even in this peaceful promised land.