Journey to the End of the Night

By Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Ralph Manheim (translator),

Book cover of Journey to the End of the Night

Book description

Celine's masterpiece-colloquial, polemic, hyper realistic-boils over with bitter humor and revulsion at society's idiocy and hypocrisy: Journey to the End of the Night is a literary symphony of cruelty and violence that hurtles through the improbable travels of the petit bourgeois (and largely autobiographical) antihero, Bardamu: from the trenches of…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Journey to the End of the Night as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Whether you love him or hate him (as he was a tortured and unpleasant soul), Céline innovated the philosophical novel in the modern context and brought the genre to its pinnacle with Journey to the End of the Night. Reflecting on the horrors, absurdity, and stupidity of World War I, returning soldier Ferdinand Bardamu (a stand-in for Céline) finds himself equally miserable in “peacetime” serving as a doctor for the poor in Paris (Céline was trained as a doctor). Céline is occasionally compared to another French writer of philosophical novels: Jean-Paul…

Celine is the big daddy of low life, the snarling metronome of misanthropy. Nearly a hundred years since its publication, it is as fresh as a daisy and should convince anybody that writing about real-life and what you think has more merit than all the BS that goes into all the other literary BS you think you should be writing or reading, because someone told you it should be elevated above the ordinary. Celine says what he thinks, warts and all. (Although it did get out of hand later in his life when he goes full throttle antisemitic!) He puts…

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