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Published four years after the success of Journey to the End of the Night (Alma Classics) this is a companion novel, also a fictional biography of Ferdinand Bardamu. I feel it only appropriate to warn you that if you have 'Death on the Installment Plan', then you already have this, as that is what it was published under in the US version.

I think that if you have never read this before you may already be aware of the notorious '...' that pepper the text of this, which I know some people do not like at all. We go back to Ferdinand's youth in this book, his parents running a shop and his growing up. It should be pointed out that although both these books are considered partially an autobiography of the actual author, his childhood wasn't really anything as bad as this, so there is a lot of fiction involved here. There is black humour here, along with Rabelaisian fantasy, but there is also some outright moments of true high comedy, such as the automobile ride early on in the book.

Set in the slum areas of Paris this is quite dark anyway, but with Celine's writing it becomes more so, with wife bashing, etc. As with the first book, this isn't something that you analyse, it is more about going with the flow, letting the text lead you to its conclusion. Not really a quick read this is something that you should wallow in and take your time.
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VINE VOICEon 10 August 2000
I have reviewed his classic "Journey to the End of the Night" and have no wish to repeat myself but the man is a genius story teller..always a ranting autobiographical descent into a pessimistic,cynical view of life....thoroughly warranted judging by his own life experience....the man must be the best novelist of the 20th century..many people would agree with this who know far better than I do all the various styles and writers that have filled the literary columns...but just read one page to get the will be drawn into the spell of his emotional "transposition" as he puts it...just brilliant brilliant is , as I say perhaps his best novel..although "Journey" comes close...he gets "better" with every novel but death on credit is the one to choose out of the whole let to get the real Celinian flavour.....
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on 2 June 2013
The French have a reputation for passion, and for pessimism, and never are these twin qualities so apparent than in Louis-Ferdinand Celine. Celine seems to drift through the literary worlds he creates as though outside of them; observing humanity with a cold, critical eye. Some may find his writing style too rambling and self-indulgent, but personally I find Celine's passion, insight, and genuine humour, captivating.
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on 29 May 2013
Celine may have been a great stylist, but here that's all we have. Unlike his masterpiece "Journey to the End of Night", this is a rambling monologue of family life and social observation that lacks insight and narrative drive. Pick it up and read any two pages and you get the point. Pretty much unreadable.
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on 5 July 2014
Considering what the Israelis get away with, think they have a (God given) right to get away with, having gone in and stolen most of Palestine, one shouldn't be too harsh (perhaps), on Celine. A brilliant writer, and certainly not alone in his beliefs, particularly in his own time and place. Maybe were we freed of all forms of elitism, separatism, one upmanship, who knows.
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