This is less a novel, and more a fictional memoir. There’s no real plot, and a barebones structure. The entire story is told first person by a young German soldier in WWI who describes the horrors of the Western Front in detail.

It picks up with Paul, the viewpoint character, having already spent time at the front, and feeling alienated from his previous life. The novel then goes through a number of different things to present the full experience of a typical lower-rank soldier. Bombardments, attacks, rotations between the trenches and the reserve, leave, being wounded and spending time in a hospital. Remarque only spent a limited time at the front, but obviously absorbed much from his fellow soldiers as years of experience are recounted in here with a great sense being all too real.

The writing is direct, and extremely effective even in translation at conveying the tone and mood intended. It’s not (and is not meant to be) glowing prose, but to beats at you in the combat beats at Paul. Any sort of more elaborate writing would only dilute the message.