All Quiet on the Western Front
Written by: Erich Maria Remarque
Narrated by: Tom Lawrence
Length: 7 hours and 9 minutes
Release Date: August 5, 2010
Publisher: Hachette Audio UK
Throughout the years, avid readers have been presented with a handful of excellent and heart wrenching war tales. Some of these have been forgotten in the translation of time, while a few notable classics have managed to withstand this test and still remain popular today. Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front is undeniably one of the most enthralling war novels of all time! It is a tale, which is relevant in today’s society and helps to educate the reader to the turmoil and losses of war. As reading has become less popular, many have switched over to the audiobook.
Sometimes, audiobooks are more compelling than their written counterparts. Tom Lawrence helps to exemplify this sentiment with the All Quiet on the Western Front audiobook. His performance is out of this world and you will learn more about it below.
Tom Lawrence’s Narration
There are many excellent book narrators out there, but Tom Lawrence is likely one of the best. He has been in the business for an extensive period of time and has narrated books for some of the best-recognized authors of all time. He has worked on books from China Mieville, Ali Sparkes and Ian McDonald. This should speak to the man’s abilities. Although he has proven himself in the past, his work on All Quiet on the Western Front is undoubtedly one of his best!
Tom manages to put on an accent, which will catapult the listener into World War I. His tone and delivery is very much representative of the time period and provides credence to the story of war, loss and destruction. Lawrence has a commanding control over his emotions and is capable of driving home the point, when it is absolutely necessary. When a dramatic confrontation occurs, Lawrence translates this to the listener with a worried, energetic tone. This helps to put the audience on the end of their seat and make them feel like they’re a part of the battle.
One of the most impressive aspects of the performance is Tom’s ability to keep the story flowing along. Despite being nearly seven hours long, Lawrence never drags out a scene or rapidly speeds through unimportant dialogue. He pays the same enormous respect to each and every line of the story, until it has met its conclusion. This helps to keep the audience engaged and alert from the first minute, until the very last. Once you’ve hit the play button, you will find it tremendously difficult to stop listening!
Finally, Tom Lawrence should be credited with his ability to lend realism to each of the novel’s characters. He helps to make each of the characters seem realistic and sympathetic. During their most trying times, the listener will feel the urge to reach out and help these characters. Lawrence’s portrayal of the 19-year-old Paul Baumer is undoubtedly the most impressive of the book. Even if you’ve finished the book, the audio version is well worth a second spin and much of this has to do with Lawrence’s amazing vocal performance.
A Novel That Truly Survived The Test Of Time
Before Erich Maria Remarque began writing All Quiet on the Western Front, he was not prepared for the roadblocks that he would face. Remarque was a German veteran that was willing to do whatever it would take to ensure the soldiers that their WWI experience would be made known to the people. Although the release of his novel was an award within itself, many of the books were banned and burnt by German officials.
All Quiet on the Western Front focused on a German soldier, Paul Baumer and several of his friends joined the army at the beginning of WWI. Remarque goes on to explain the filthy conditions that the soldiers were forced to live in. The Baumer character was portrayed in a manner that many veteran soldiers could sympathize with, because they experienced war on the front.
German government did not want this harsh reality spoken of or let alone turned into a novel. If not for stories like this one, many wives, mothers, and children would have never learned what their male counterparts withstood during the treacherous battles of WWI. He never portrayed any of the characters, as a hero since he was more focused on revealing the fears and struggles that the men were forced to endure.
The novel does not omit close friendships that were formed, while the soldiers spent downtime in the trenches. In reality, as we know it today, many WWI soldiers died due to poor conditions and lack of food and medicine, which is unfathomable to most. The outcome was definitely not a good one according to Remarque, who admitted that many countries only gained a few acres of land.
Thanks to Erich Remarque, readers have the opportunity to read about the harsh wars and what the soldiers had to endure during this time period. While many families were unaware of these conditions, they were praying for their sons, fathers, and husbands to return home safely.
There are many excellent tales of battle and the majority of them could translate well in today’s world. Unfortunately, some of them have been ignored over the course of many years. All Quiet on the Western Front is one of those special gems, which refuses to disappear. The book was transformed into a successful film in 1930. The film was actually awarded the Academy Award that year. In today’s time, the movie might not be able to hold up to modern standards, but the audiobook sure does.
Much of this has to do with the book itself. It is no coincidence that the book sold 2.5 million, during its first 18 months in print. Of course, the audiobook revamps the book entirely. Tom Lawrence’s reading of All Quiet on the Western Front is special and will be enjoyed by anyone, who loves dramatic, sad war stories. Even if you’ve read the book, you should give up seven hours of your life to experience the amazing audio version!
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