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Spark of Life: A Novel of Resistance

4.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,193 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews

509 is a political prisoner in a German concentration camp. For ten years, he has persevered in the most hellish conditions. Deathly weak, he still has his wits about him and he senses that the end of the war is near. If he and the other living corpses in his barracks can hold on for liberation--or force their own--then their suffering will not have been in va
Paperback, 424 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 1952)
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The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankNight by Elie WieselThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John BoyneNumber the Stars by Lois Lowry
Well-Written Holocaust Books
139th out of 573 books — 2,311 voters
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. LewisCharlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest HemingwayFoundation and Empire by Isaac AsimovThey Do It with Mirrors by Agatha Christie
Best Books of 1952
13th out of 65 books — 31 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Pick Wick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hamish Davidson
I am becoming a huge Remarque fan. Spark of Life is thoughtful and powerful writing. The story illustrates the enormity of the tragedy we know as the holocaust and if you want to be moved by a book, that will happen when you read this one for sure. A sad tale and a wake up call in one amazingly well written novel. The story is even sadder with the knowledge that the author's sister Elfreide, to whom the book is dedicated, was beheaded by the nazis.
Lidia Linyucheva
Jan 16, 2013 Lidia Linyucheva rated it it was amazing
One of the most impressive Remarque books. The harshest, I would say, and as usual incredibly touching.
Кремена Михайлова
"- Рут – каза той след някое време. – Когато човек започне от нищо, като нас, мисля, че пред него лежи още твърде много щастие."
Best book Eric Maria Remarque wrote, in my opinion. I've read it many times since highschool, most recently last week.
Mar 12, 2009 Molly rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was very moving. The most humbling book I have ever read.
Preili Pipar
Mar 21, 2015 Preili Pipar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tegelikult on sellest raamatust päris keeruline midagi arvata. Polnud enne sellest midagi kuulnud, aga mul on päris hea meel, et see mu öökapile sattus :)
Kuigi raamat on olemuselt sünge, on see siiski väga kaasahaarav ja raske on seda käest panna. Tahad kogu aeg teada, mis tegelastest siis lõpuks saab.
Head lugemist!

Elu – ükskõik mis moodi, täitanult, purukspekstult, verisena -, kõigest hoolimata elu.

„Mõnikord sureb sada ja sa ei tunne midagi, ning siis sureb üksainus - üks, kes sulle eriti kord
Apr 11, 2011 Anke rated it it was amazing
Remarque is certainly not a light read, but a very readable one. One thing about him that I find most interesting is the way he shows human adaptability - the everyday life in situations most people would not even begin to imagine. Be it the front in WW I or longterm prisoners in a concentration camp, even the worst things do end up shaping some kind of routine around them, no matter how terrible, and humans seem to grow used to things that they would not be able to imagine in normal circumstanc ...more
Carla Soares
Aug 28, 2014 Carla Soares rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrível, terrível...

Se decidir ler este livro de 1952, respire primeiro, respire fundo antes de mergulhar, porque ao longo das 469 páginas (na minha versão) vai ser difícil levar ar aos pulmões.

Cada página deste livro passado mesmo no final da guerra, na Primavera de 1945, é de um perfeito horror. Decorre num campo de trabalho dividido em dois, do qual acompanhamos o sector dos "esqueletos", os que estão para além da capacidade de trabalho, colocados no campo pequeno para "rebentar"(não preciso
Всеки почитател на Ремарк знае наизуст това кратко изречение, откриващите думи на „Искрица живот“. Изречение, чиято умишлена цел е връхлитащият шок още в самото начало. Съзнателно търсен ефект от Ремарк, защото никъде после в книгата не се повтаря словосъчетанито „скелет 509“. Но в това първо изречение, в тези няколко думи има толкова символика… има всичко.

Ремарк не е пряк свидетел на Холокоста, нито е оцелял от концентрационните лагери. Неговата връзка с темата обаче е твърде лична – сестра му
Aug 14, 2013 Dovilė rated it really liked it
Mus žemino; bet mes nesame pažeminti. Pažeminti tie, kurie taip elgėsi.

E. M. Remarque, ,,Gyvybės kibirkštis" (2007)
Nov 24, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, read-again
Spark of Life is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, which appeared both in German (as Der Funke Leben) and in English in 1952. Remarque was a German author who created many works, with his best-known novel being All Quiet on the Western Front. One of the first things I wondered about Remarque was why his middle name was Maria, it seemed such an odd name to be given to a boy, then I read that he was born Erich Paul Remark and changed his middle name in memory of his mother and reverted to the earli ...more
May 08, 2014 Cinquantaine rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Valentin Bryukhanov
Страшная книга о действительно сильных людях и о надежде.
Георги Кафадаров
Despair and hope.Those are the two conflicting themes in the book "Spark of life".The book is set in Mellern concentration camp in Nazi Germany towards the end of the Second World War.509 is the main charachter and one of the longest serving inmates in the camp.He himself prefers to be called "509",a number given by the camp authority,because his real name reminds him of his life as a free man.The others are Joseph Bucher (the son of a left-wing editor), Ruth Holland (Bucher’s girlfriend), Old ...more
Harry Allagree
Aug 06, 2015 Harry Allagree rated it really liked it
Copyrighted in 1952, this book is as beautifully & movingly written as a previous book of Remarque's: All Quiet On the Western Front. It's an interesting study in various thoughts, emotions, values, etc. of various types of people, either in or connected with the Nazi concentration camp which is the book's setting: the prisoners, both as a group & individually, especially the main character, 509; the SS command & staff, as well as their families; the townspeople nearby; the liberator ...more
May 04, 2015 Enislav rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Надеждата. Всепобеждаващата надежда, която възкръсва от пепелта на крематориумите като иглика през пролетта. Неуморимата надежда, носена на крилете на инстиктивната, почти животинска жажда за живот. Упоритата надежда, отказваща да подкоси колене пред зъбатата машина на смъртта. Увлекателна и поглъщаща история за последните искрици живот, раздухани от полъха на свободата и избухнали в един последен пламък срещу тиранията, безчовечността и оправданията.
Katy chan
Jul 25, 2014 Katy chan rated it it was amazing
Tuhle knihu jsem četla zatraceně dlouho. Nebylo to tím, že by mě nebavila, ale tím, že jsem nebyla schopna toho zkousnout tolik najednou. Takže ano, byla to úžasná kniha, která akorát tak prohloubila mou lásku k Remarquovi, která vznikla po přečtení Vítězného oblouku. Jsem hrozně hrdá na to, že knihu mám ve své knihovně. :)
Greg Brozeit
The first published post-WWII Holocaust novel. After its publication there was a great deal of criticism of Remarque for having written a novel about things he had never personally experienced. But I doubt that there are many literary treatments of this human tragedy that are as poignant or relevant.
Jan 17, 2010 Kathw82 rated it it was amazing
We all know about what happened in WWII and what happened in the concentration camps...but this shocked me anyway. This book is about the prisoners inside a concentration camp and the spark of life that keeps them going.
Liza Ruda
Mar 23, 2013 Liza Ruda rated it really liked it
История о людях, о вере, о надежде, об упертости, о сопротивлении, о силе, о потери рассудка, разочарования, боли, страданиях и смерти. Эта история о концлагерях. Вечная память всем погибшим.
Aug 21, 2011 Marce rated it it was amazing
Big tragedies affect our hearts through stories of individuals. This is a book that provides such strong connection to an individual...
Bozhidar Dimitrov
Oct 13, 2012 Bozhidar Dimitrov rated it it was amazing
Потресаващо! Препоръчително четиво за мрънкачи, недоволни от живота.
Aug 15, 2012 Monika rated it really liked it
Really lives up to its title. Strong and powerful.
Jan 06, 2011 Arlinda rated it it was amazing
Remarque's only optimistic book :)
Nov 16, 2014 Arb rated it really liked it
Tereza M
Sep 05, 2014 Tereza M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Je to fikce a díky tomu to může být také opravdu, opravdu dobré. Když jsem otvírala Jiskru života, měla jsem za sebou už mnoho silných lágrových knih, a přesto mě to srazilo k zemi jako vlak. Věděla jsem, co mě čeká, ale Remarque to napsal skutečně tak intenzivně, že jsem se mnohokrát dojala, a strašně jsem myslela na všechny ty, kdo v těch táborech žili a kdo v nich dříve či později zemřeli. A budu se opakovat, ale jsem strašně moc šťastná, že jsem se nenarodila jako Němka, protože ten stud za ...more
Jan Doležálek
May 03, 2016 Jan Doležálek rated it really liked it
Despite I love Remarque books, this was one hard to read.. The things that happen in this novel are horrifying. I wanted to get out of the concentration camp so badly and at last I have finished the book. I would recommend this book only if you trully want to know how it must felt and what horrors happend in the concetration camps during WW II . Definitely not for the weak nature.
Xheni Kotonika
Oct 05, 2015 Xheni Kotonika rated it it was amazing
Well, before I started to read this book, a lot of people told me it was depressing and it would be wiser to just leave it...and of course, I didn't.
In my opinion this book is everything but depressing. It is a book of hope, which was not in my expectations, knowing Remark. The way he recounts the everyday struggle to keep the pulse beating, what a man can do to keep himself alive is amazing. He brought me goose-flash. Also, I like the way he described the relation man-death, which of course go
Jan 09, 2015 Kristiina rated it liked it
A very tragic book. It is very difficult to read about the struggles unimaginable to people nowadays. I tried to read this book 2 or 3 times and i couldn't finish it... However the book is written excellently as other books from Remarque. They make you think deeply about things and make you see what you should value in life.
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Erich Maria Remarque is one of the best known and most widely read authors of German literature in the twentieth century.

Remarque's biography is essentially marked and his writing fundamentally influenced by German history of the twentieth century: Childhood and youth in imperial Osnabrück, World War I, the Weimar Republic, and most of all his exile in Switzerland and the United States. With the
More about Erich Maria Remarque...

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