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Journey to the End of the Night by…
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Journey to the End of the Night (1932)

by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,486631,530 (4.19)145
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» See also 145 mentions

English (36)  French (9)  Dutch (7)  Italian (4)  Hebrew (2)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (63)
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Novel, French Literature
  FoaT | Sep 28, 2017 |
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? ( )
3 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 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (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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Epigraph
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.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0811216543, Paperback)

When it was published in 1932, this then-shocking and revolutionary first fiction redefined the art of the novel with its black humor, its nihilism, and its irreverent, explosive writing style, and made Louis-Ferdinand Celine one of France's--and literature's--most important 20th-Century writers. The picaresque adventures of Bardamu, the sarcastic and brilliant antihero of Journey to the End of the Night move from the battlefields of World War I (complete with buffoonish officers and cowardly soldiers), to French West Africa, the United States, and back to France in a style of prose that's lyrical, hallucinatory, and hilariously scathing toward nearly everybody and everything. Yet, beneath it all one can detect a gentle core of idealism.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:21 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"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 and Detroit, 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."--from publisher's description.… (more)

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