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Friday, 8 July 2011

All Quiet on the Western Front - Part 11

Hi guys, sorry for the huge delay between posts. For most of that time I actually have a legitimate excuse (consisting of the book being tidied away where I couldn't find it) which is odd; from about the beginning of the month it's basically been procrastination, which isn't so odd unfortunately. In any case, this will be my penultimate post in the old chapter-by-chapter format, and to be honest I'm really not sad to see it go. Last chapter we had our narrator and Kropp go into the hospital, ending with Kropp minus a limb and the narrator back to the front, seeing as you can't kill the narrator with two chapters still to go.
And thus we start this chapter with everyone essentially worn down to the basest of human instincts. Tjaden has taken to wolfing down his meals when he knows there's a raid on as he can't tell whether he'll be alive after it, which is fair enough; the other guys discuss why this might be a bad idea. It's rather depressing to realise that even their conversations only cover survival now, I mean I might have complained that all they seem to talk about is the war and reasons why it shouldn't have started etc, but at least it's better than "you probably don't want to eat that soup right now, it'll screw you over if you get a stomach wound". Personally I'm kind of hoping they die soon, because this is no way to live.
Turns out that one of the guys from their company has been court-martialled because he tried to go back home. I would make a comment, but I can't think of anything suitable.
Another guy has died trying to rescue/mercy kill a wounded messenger dog. The misery is unrelenting.
Müller's died too, from a stomach wound. Again, some unrelenting misery for the reader's discretion, like thousands of unprepared new recruits dying because they haven't been trained properly. 
Two more have died protecting the company from the enemy's flamethrower, one of them being the company commander. 
The months drag on and rumours of peace start to surface, but they still have to go out to the front, despite the fact that they know they're losing the war. 
And now Kat's been wounded. Not as bad as it could have been, but still. Never mind, he got some shrapnel in the head while he was being taken to the dressing station. So now Kat's dead. 

This chapter has pretty much been death, death and just a touch more death. It is, as I mentioned before, unrelentingly miserable, but at the same time almost absurd by the time the chapter ends. It just seems a bit too much.

Signing off,

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