Louis-Ferdinand Celine's revulsion and anger at what he considered the idiocy and hypocrisy of society explodes from nearly every minute 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 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 and Detroit, and finally to life as a failed doctor in Paris, takes the listeners by the scruff and hurtles them toward the novel's inevitable, sad conclusion.
©1952 Louis-Ferdinand Céline. Translation copyright 1983 by Ralph Manheim. Afterword copyright 2006 by William T. Vollmann (P)2016 Tantor
"Céline showed me that it was possible to convey things that had heretofore seemed inaccessible. " (New York Times)
Here's a book I never thought I'd see in audio format. I'm glad it's available. Surprisingly, Celine's idiosyncratic, explosive prose style sounds good when rendered aloud by David Colacci, who reads the text with the expressiveness appropriate to Celine's highly distinct voice.
If you aren't familiar with Celine, and you're interested in literary outlaws like Burroughs, Genet, or Henry Miller, do yourself a favor and get acquainted with Journey to the End of the Night. It's a landmark novel in 20th Century literary modernism.
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