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Journey to the End of the Night (1932)

by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ferdinand Bardamu (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,959651,518 (4.2)154
Louis-Ferdinand Celine's revulsion and anger at what he considered the idiocy and hypocrisy of society explodes from nearly every page of this novel. Filled with slang and obscenities and written in raw, colloquial language,Journey to the End of the Night is a literary symphony of violence, cruelty and obscene nihilism. This book shocked most critics when it was first published in France in 1932, but quickly became a success with the reading public in Europe, and later in America where it was first published by New Directions in 1952. The story of the improbable yet convincingly described travels of the petit-bourgeois (and largely autobiographical) antihero, Bardamu, from the trenches of World War I, to the African jungle, to New York andDetroit, and finally to life as a failed doctor in Paris, takes the readers by the scruff and hurtles them toward the novel's inevitable, sad conclusion.… (more)

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» See also 154 mentions

English (35)  French (10)  Dutch (7)  Italian (4)  Hebrew (2)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Polish (1)  All languages (64)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Here’s a novel powerful enough to suck the life out of Amazon’s entire self-help catalogue in seconds. In terms of sheer pessimistic cynicism of humanity, Céline’s Night is unparalleled with its tale of Ferdinand Bardamu’s adventures as he leaves his native Paris for WW1, Africa, the US and returns full circle to pursue work as a doctor in a profession he barely believes in. If Henry Miller didn’t get his inspiration from this novel for his riotous Tropics of Cancer & Capricorn, I’ll be very surprised.

All along the way, everything and everyone he encounters is subject to satire and critical examination. There are no survivors, not even Bardamu himself. Being British, I was born cynical, and although I appreciated what Miller had to say (to a certain extent), I found Night a lot easier to follow.

For a start, there’s a storyline and the writing maintains its structure, which is, in places, sublime. Miller would no doubt cite these as his first criticisms of a work that is ostensibly anti-establishment, and he would have a point. However, Céline keeps you wanting to read his novel, and thereby get his point, to the end. Miller doesn’t give a newt’s fart if you read his books or not.

In addition to a storyline, Céline can be genuinely funny in places. Bardamu is an engaging character who ends up in some fairly extreme circumstances and always manages to come out intact… just about. I appreciated the geographical variety that this novel offered, particularly the African colonial adventures which ended far too soon for me. Colonialism deserves all the satire it can get as far as I’m concerned.

For anyone who found Miller far too intense, heavy-going, lurid and/or utterly bonkers, try Night first or perhaps just read Night and stop there. In many ways, it will communicate the same message that Miller’s writing does which is that in general life can’t be taken too seriously and in particular that society is purely farcical.

We need writers like these if only to counteract the Lion King-sized lies of Disney. Where are they today? ( )
5 vote arukiyomi | Dec 17, 2016 |
Journey to the end of Night Celine

I really struggled with this one and it felt much longer than its 600 odd pages I didn't really engage with the main character and that is a real problem in a first person narrative, I also felt the story jumped about and wasn't really a consistent story add to that the fact I found most of it boring this was not a great read for me.

I have given it 3 stars as there are much worse books out there that the 1001 list has forced me to read lol
( )
1 vote BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
providential.. ( )
  webasli | Nov 8, 2015 |
I found the writing good, but the general tone of the book dark and depressing. I was always searching for a light switch, metaphorically speaking. ( )
1 vote charlie68 | Aug 11, 2015 |
De la adolescencia a la adultez , diez años desde la primera que lo leí , mi concepción de este libro cambio abismalmente .

Igual le dejo un cuatro por la nostalgia casi dolorosa que me provocó el releerlo .

Por los viejos tiempos , A este cascarrabias que quise tanto cuando sabia bastante menos de la supervivencia en la sociedad . ( )
1 vote LaMala | Jun 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (68 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Céline, Louis-Ferdinandprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kummer, E.Y.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manheim, RalphTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mannerkorpi, JukkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marks, John H. P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tardi, JacquesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vidal-Folch, EstanislauTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vollmann, William T.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vollmann, William T.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Our life is a journey through winter and night we look for our way in a sky without light. (Song of the Swiss Guards 1793)

Travel is useful, it exercises the imagination. All the rest is disappointment and fatigue. Our journey is entirely imaginary. That is its strength.

It goes from life to death. People, animals, cities, things, all are imagined. It's a novel, just a fictitious narrative. Littre says so, and he's never wrong.

And besides, in the first place, anyone can do as much. You just have to close your eyes.

It's on the other side of life.
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
À Elisabeth Craig
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Ça a débuté comme ça
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