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Journey to the End of the Night (Alma Classics)

Journey to the End of the Night (Alma Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Louis-Ferdinand Celine , Ralph Manheim , John Banville
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'My favourite French classic has to be Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Celine. It's an epic that takes you all around the world, but the centre of the world is Paris, or Celine's delirious, slightly hallucinatory, incredibly poetic vision of it.' Andrew Hussey, The Guardian

Product Description

Told in the first person, the novel is based on the author's own experiences during the First World War, in French colonial Africa, in the USA - where he worked for a while at the Ford factory in Detroit - and later as a young doctor in a working-class suburb in Paris. Celine's disgust with human folly, malice, greed and the chaotic state in which man has left society lies behind the bitterness that distinguishes his idiosyncratic, colloquial and visionary writing and gives it its force. This edition contains a foreword by John Banville.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 776 KB
  • Print Length: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Alma Books (30 Nov 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AF9CG12
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #120,176 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not An Easy Read 6 Feb 2013
Celine's novel, first published in 1932 marked a turning point in French literature and in World literature as well. Inspiring many others Celine's tale is a fictional autobiography of Ferdinand Bardamu, which is partly based on and inspired by the real author's experiences. Starting in France at the beginning of the First World War we follow Bardamu through his experiences, and then on to colonial Africa, onwards to America, and then back to Paris.

Celine shows his nihilistic viewpoint with the deepest darkest humour and Rabelasian fantasy. This isn't an easy read; it pulls you in and holds you viscerally not letting you go. Don't try to analyse it, just lose yourself in the written word and see where this novel takes you. To a certain extent this will get under your skin, whatever your personal feelings towards the author, as he writes about the things he sees around him with such anger and annoyance. Showing up the stupidity of Man even if you don't finish this book it is well worth reading about the war and colonialism.

Written with such power Celine really shows his contempt for his fellow Men, but in a way that is darkly humorous. A book of hate and despair this is a book arguably for all time showing us some of the stupid and destructive things that still are carried on. This is an uncomfortable read, mainly as Celine writes with such power.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Explore the night life 19 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I must admit that I'd never heard of this book or its author before I came across it on a list of recommended reads, and I would now add my name to those recommendations. The book is expansive on terms of the years it covers, amounting to the life of the protagonist Bardamu, yet it clips along at a lively pace while maintaining the his listlessness.

The book opens with Bardamu signing up for duty in the first world war, something he quickly regrets. Appalled by the mindless slaughter, the pointlessness of the conflict and the cruelty of those in command, Bardamu's outlook is set: resigned to his fate, questioning of authority and looking for a way out.

The search for an exit brings Bardamu's first encounter with Leon Robinson, who is also looking to escape. Throughout the book Robinson and Bardamu find themselves in a number of different locations - no man's land, Paris, Africa, New York - but cannot manage to change their lot, cursing their luck and surviving just above the breadline.

Bardamu's wanderings may appear listless, but they are far from frustrating. And what appears at first to be the frustrated rants of the author's main protagonist are pointed criticisms of his contemporary society - the antipathy toward ex-servicemen, the right of the poor, colonialism, the hypocrisy of authority are all spat on to the page in fits of pique.

The ideas in the book, thus morality, attitudes toward sex and criminality and the mocking of authority - let alone the language - probably explain the fuss it created when it was published. However, the book can certainly walk the walk. Bardamu is sometimes heroic, cowardly, thoughtful, selfish, likeable, despicable but always readable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart 29 Jan 2012
By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Bile, black bile, dredged from gouging out his liver, holding it aloft and then wringing it dry over shreds of paper and then coughing, spluttering, every scrap of his stomach over the top of this hand crafted pizza.

This is where the modern world began, as Celine painstakingly reveals himself in desperate moments, as he painfully etches out his life trajectory. No one escapes his scathing indictment of unadulterated folly. All around him build sand castles on barren, dry rocks of hallucination.

People kid themselves before they try to spread their dis-ease around them and inflict it onto others as a reality. Instead takes a blunderbuss, then blasts all that came before him, inviting the reader to follow him, strip off their pretension and howl with derision at a world that has no barriers. Decency, class, manners, etiquette; these all exist in the head. The human is a base animal, that will do anything to anyone if it sees it can gain a minor advantage. Celine was not bothered about economics, he spurns all systems seemingly. He depicts the world as an open sore that constantly needs to be scratched, providing relief, leading to more bleeding and infection. The Doctor to the poor, supplicates their illnesses and then is chivved of the pennies he charges to pay for his efforts. The rich also come under a relentless barrage of pure filth of an internal critique. This is a full scaled cavalry charge, with sabres unsheathed, aimed at everything held sacred in a culture that builds citadels to hide its meaninglessness.

Celine pulls them all down, looks under the paving stones, then finds millipedes, worms and ants all hiding their true selves from the daylight. Not for the faint hearted, this is the journey to the end of the edge of darkness; the abysss.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing 19 Oct 2005
I live in Ireland in 2005, it's funny how our own corrupt, drunken, unsympathetic and acquisitive little country bears no fundamental difference from the world as described by Celine. Far from being depressed by this knowledge I find it liberating, I am confirmed in my view that human nature remains constant, change is slow and the semblance of civilisation is but a illusion manufactured and promulgated by a weak and spineless media.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
This is a work of literary genius that is rightly recognised in France but often overlooked by the English-speaking world. Read more
Published 14 days ago by M. Lea
4.0 out of 5 stars Influential
Put aside the author's politics and drink in a saga endearingly told. This book is spellbinding. A pretty long book that leaves you wanting a little bit more. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr. S. J. Hunt
4.0 out of 5 stars A flawed man.
Celine was, unfortunately, an unpleasant anti-semite, but the originality and quality of this book cannot be denied. Read more
Published 9 months ago by j.m.galgut
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
I was recommended this book by a fellow scholar at Hull University in 1991. Full of brio, colour and life it is a high tale of a young man in World War One. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Dan Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Often overlooked
In the world of literature, Louis-Ferdinand Celine is an author that is often, and unfairly, overlooked. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Carol A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
This is one of the greatest novels ever written and loved by some of the great writers (e.g. Henry Miller and Bukowski). Read more
Published 20 months ago by Adam
3.0 out of 5 stars The Tribulations of Ferdinand Bardamu
Louis-Ferdinand Celine's Journey to the End of the Night is an outrageously misanthropic novel. A repugnance for humanity bleeds through its pages, an utter disbelief at the... Read more
Published 22 months ago by s k
5.0 out of 5 stars Class
I loved this book through to the end. Wonderfully written translation. The story follows Celine's alter ego though ww1 to post war America and France. Read more
Published on 1 Nov 2012 by anomie
4.0 out of 5 stars The dark side of the face
This is the famous French fictional autobiographical novel of Louis-Ferdinand Celine written between the World Wars in 1933. Read more
Published on 7 May 2012 by H. Tee
5.0 out of 5 stars iodiosyncratic black humor
Intense, dark, viscious, the choppy sentences, written in the vernacular are gripping as they are direct. Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2012 by TMODN
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