Death on the Installment Plan
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Death on the Installment Plan

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  3,569 ratings  ·  182 reviews
Published in rapid succession in the middle 1930s, Journey to the End of the Night and Death on the Installment Plan shocked European literature and world consciousness. Nominally fiction but more rightly called "creative confessions," they told of the author's childhood in excoriating Paris slums, of service in the mud wastes of World War I and African jungles. Mixing unm...more
Paperback, 592 pages
Published January 17th 1971 by New Directions (first published 1934)
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The Rings of Saturn by W.G. SebaldLabyrinths by Jorge Luis BorgesA Heart So White by Javier MaríasThe Hour of the Star by Clarice LispectorJourney to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline
Best New Directions Books
18th out of 95 books — 80 voters
The Stranger by Albert CamusSiddhartha by Hermann Hesse1984 by George OrwellThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Best Philosophical Literature
202nd out of 525 books — 1,562 voters


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Community Reviews

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Hadrian
Simultaneously one of the most depressing and hilarious novels I've read. The author has creative sex metaphors that would make fan-fiction authors weep.

The style has changed considerably since "Journey to the End of the Night". There is still the same nihilistic mocking tone, the paranoia, the distrust of everything. But instead of tense packed essays, this novel is studded with ellipses like bullet holes. See Celine taking out a Chicago typewriter and blasting down the ennui of interwar bourge...more
Szplug
If you haven't been through that you'll never know what obsessive hatred really smells like...the hatred that goes through your guts, all the way to your heart...Real hatred comes from deep down, from a defenseless childhood crushed with work. That's the hatred that kills you. There'll be more of it, so deep and thick there will always be some left, enough to go around...It will ooze out over the earth...and poison it, so nothing will grow but viciousness, among the dead, among men.

Céline's acer...more
Anthony
Pure unadulterated brilliance. Celine is one of those few authors one comes across whose genius makes one appreciate life, art, and the great fortune one has to be able to experience it. Celine's writings are like a dark gem shining blackly in a sea of mediocre banality. Celine manages to mix severe misanthropy, pessimism, violent disgust with life and humanity with hilarity. Easily one of the best books I've ever read as well as one of the most humorous. This isn't happy humor though. It is dar...more
Jim
It's all those damned dots ... one after another ... here comes one fragment ... then another ... and before you know it you're being carried along like flotsam in the sewers ... Poor Ferdinand ... hard-luck kid ... nothing but abuse at home ... surrounded by gargoyles ... work was no escape ... everyone was such a stinking sneak, until Ferdinand was forced out ... once again ... only to undergo the treatment again at home ... they always took it so personally ... not that maman and papa were do...more
ablomof
Jun 11, 2014 ablomof rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: eliafen
Shelves: novel, favorites
سلین در نامه‌ای به لئون دوده می‌گوید: «...من همان‌طوری می‌نویسم که حس می‌کنم...ازم خرده می‌گیرند که بددهنم، زبان بی‌ادبانه دارم. از بیرحمی و خشونت دائمی [کتاب‌هایم] انتقاد می‌کنند...چه کنم، این دنیا ذاتش را عوض کند، من هم سبکم را عوض می‌کنم...»

به راستی که سلین زندگی را می‌نویسد بدون هیچ کم و کاستی! حال که زندگی، اگر نگوییم سرتاسر، بلکه در غالب اوقات تلخ و گزنده است این گناه سلین نیست که زندگی اینگونه است.

مرگ قسطی دومین اثر نویسنده و به نظر اکثر مفسران بهترین اثر او، کتاب ارزشمند و قابل اعتنایی‌...more
Zahra
بی‌نظیر، و نه حتا کم‌نظیر. لاابالی، بی‌رحم، شگفت‌انگیز. هنوز هم خوندن‌اش از بهترین و عجیب‌ ترین خاطرات کتابی‌مه
Danny Axelrod
Apr 10, 2008 Danny Axelrod rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Pj Perez, Jerry Misko, Matt Keleman
The master of the ellipse, Celine recounts his tragi-comic career as a youth and doctor in the Paris suburb of Montemartre. If you know Celine, this is his darkest but, in my opinion , most beautifully and vividly written novel. He spins and sputters off into an inner world that has great clarity concerning the surrounding outer world, without any great ability to relate properly to it.I just found myself relating to like my own. If you are new to Celine, think of it as Bukowski meets Moulin Rou...more
Christine
What an asshole. What a pig. What a bigot. But jesus, can he write. This is a good one to pick up and just read passages from anywhere then set down when you just can't take it anymore.
Sarah Alz
Feb 18, 2014 Sarah Alz rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sarah by: Reza Khoeilar
«زندگی ما گذراست، حقیقتی‌ست، اما تا همین جایش هم زیادی گذشته.»
این اولین جمله ای بود که در کتاب مرگ قسطی توجهم را جلب کرد. کتابی تلخ و تاریک که از زبان یک پزشک نقل می شود. و در طول داستان می فهمی که چرا «تا همین جاش هم زیادی گذشته» و چه طور می شود که قسطی مرد. کتابی که نشانت می دهد دنیای مدرن با همه ویژگی هایش نمی تواند فساد و حقارت و تباهی انسان های ناکوک را مخفی کند.این بار نه خبر از موضوعات عشقی هست نه گیر و دارهای عاطفی و درد هجران کشیدن که به مرگ بماند. این بار داستان سر اصلی ترین فاجعه ای ا...more
Marjan
اسم این کتاب مرگ قسطی هست، به تعبیری یعنی زندگی مرگ تدریجی است .راوی داستان زندگی خودش رو تا 18 سالگی تعریف می کنه،زندگی در سیاهی و فلاکت و فقر.همه چیز با بی اعتنایی ظاهری تصویر می شه ،پدر ومادر،مادربزرگ ، مغازه و خانه در پاساژی کهنه.راوی کتک می خوره ، با وضع خفت باری به سفر می ره، دنبال کار می گرده و ...شما می خندید.فقط کافی هست حس طنز داشته باشید،دنیا رو به سیاهی فردینان دیده باشید و مضحک بودن تمام دنیا رو با تمام وجود حس کرده باشید.دنیا همین چیزی هست که فردینان می گه ،هرچند توی مرگ قسطی کمی ا...more
RandomAnthony
While I very much liked Death on The Installment Plan I loved the shit out of Journey To The End of Night. I can’t help compare the two, and while the latter’s better, the former/sequel is very good.

Death focuses primarily on the author/character’s (toss-up!) reflections on his formative years. After a brief tour of the present the narrator hustles back to his early childhood with his perenially frazzled shopowner parents. He later attends an English boarding school, cycles through shitty jobs,...more
Tyler
Apr 23, 2009 Tyler rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adults; Francophiles; Fans of Modernism
Recommended to Tyler by: Author's Reputation
Wherever I go lately in literature, it seems the French have been there first. Today's episode of this might be called, "How the French saved Modernism from itself." Or at least, how Céline did. This companion to Journey to the End of the Night can be read equally well by itself. In it, a boy – why Ferdinand, it just so happens is his name – grows up at the turn of the century in middle-class Paris. This story looks closely at that boy and that environment, and adds a creative twist to the liter...more
Neil
Some people find Celine's (exaggerated) account of his childhood depressing. I thought it was a riot, laughing out loud many times while reading. Probably just a matter of one's taste for dark comedy. The story is a similar form to his earlier Journey to the End of the Night, but the sentence structure is much more idiosyncratic. In the end you are left with one man's hyperbolic interpretation of society, full of alternately cruel and pathetic animals. Even though I don't share his misanthropy,...more
Haman
دوباره تنها شدیم چقدر همه چیز کند سنگین وغمناک است به زودی پیر می شوم و همه چیز تمام می شود
Doctor Edward Diesel
My hero. What a delightfully cranky bastard.He also happens to be right, most of the time.
Behzad
همان سلین همیشگی
با قدرت
و بی رحم
همچون زندگی

و اینبار در کتابی به نام مرگ قسطی
Troy
I'm not loving this. It started off with a bang, this great book, this influential novel, this cowpaddie of importance, but now it's all ellipsis and shitbird drone . . . endless procession of phonies and hapless blunderers in a constant stream of misfortune and moral turpitude . . . As I read this I think about what I always think about when I read novels written over a hundred years ago . . . that is, how awful life was . . . how it was a neverending maelstrom of shit jobs and misfortune to ma...more
Tanuj Solanki
The negatives

If the idea was to have poetic flourishes juxtaposed with descriptions of squalor and deprivation, as is generally promised, and as was the case in "Journey...", it fails. There is a lot of squalor and deprivation. Instances of arresting poetry are few and far between.

An excess of "..." (probably Mannheim's exaggeration in the English version). Adds no celerity, no electricity, no queerness, no here-and-now, no naturalness to the prose or the monologues. Just wucking faste. Lets Ce...more
Patrick McCoy
Death On The Installment Plan is the companion piece to Celine's earlier novel Journey To The End of Night. Perhaps he was the first to conceive of the prequel, since this novel is about his/the protagonists' life growing up and misadventures trying to find a trade and employment up until his enlistment in the army. Journey To The End of Night takes up from enlistment in the army and onward, but was written first. I guess the most common characteristic between the two books is the writing style....more
Lawrence
Hard to imagine he could write a more explosive novel than"Journey"....


yet he does..

the manic lyric matures here...fragmented...
.one finds oneself gasping for air at times..

There are moments when the language is so powerful and musical that entire passages
move like mythic poems set to some unknown , arcane composer....

Celine captures the absurd and the mundane..wraps it in rotten fish and decayed newsprint... and throws it at the reader...grease, fat and all...

ghastly....

..Celine would never com...more
Nuno Martins
Mais um excelente livro do escritor "maldito" francês Louis Ferdinand Céline.
Neste "Morte a Crédito", Céline traz-nos um retrato duro e bruto de uma França e uma Paris do início do séc. XX, cheia de vícios, pobreza e maldade, com uma linguagem e descrições fortes, chegando a roçar o obsceno, mas ao mesmo tempo de uma irreverencia e cinismo mordaz.
Decididamente Céline (apesar de toda a polémica que gira à volta dele), é um dos maiores escritores do séc. XX e cuja obra merece ser (re)lida.
Brent Legault
Jan 08, 2008 Brent Legault rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ellipsis lovers, . . .
I wish I had the patience to reread this in French. I found Celine by way of Bukowski, which happens to a lot of people I think. Celine is a better stylist than Bukowski but I wouldn't have wanted to know either one of them personally. Curmugeons are only tolerable when you can shut them up at your leisure.
Tedopon
Jan 01, 2008 Tedopon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: you
Shelves: fiction
The funniest book I've ever read.
Simultaneously one of the most depressing.
Every Celine book (and I read damn near all of them) is like that, brutally hilarious, no holds barred cynicism mixed with agonisingly depressing social commentary.
Fostergrants
Nov 30, 2010 Fostergrants is currently reading it
My daughter, who is one of the smartest women I know, just finished this and gave it five stars...then loaned it to me. Of course I'm going to read it!!!
Arman Mohammadi yazdi
سلين زندگي را طرد نمي‌كند بلكه مدام __‌حتا در گه‌ترين شرايطي كه مي‌توان به تصور در آورد‌__ به استقبالش مي‌رود. اين جز در پذيرش دو حقيقت ممكن نيست. نخست حقيقت حتميت مرگ در انتهاي سرنوشت. و دو، حقيقتي نكبت‌بار به نام وجود. و اين مي‌تواند كم‌تر نكبت‌بار شود اگر كه بشود بدون اغراق و بدون فريب به خود گفت: «من، روزی که لازم می‌شد، از زندگی تقریباً آن‌قدر گیرم آمده بود که بتوانم صورتحساب مرگ را جیرینگی بدهم... مستمری زیبایی شناختی داشتم من. تکه‌ها نصیبم شده بود و چه تکه‌های ماهی... باید اعتراف کنم، تکه...more
Joy
SOME SPOILERS - First Celine I have read, did not realize there was a 'prequel', but I will be reading that soon. All in all, great book. It's drawn out to the point of boredom at some points, what with the long speeches and rants, but that was the only downfall. It's part of Celine's style, character development through dialogue. As much dialogue as the reader has to suffer through, seldom do we experience it from Ferdinand.

I enjoyed the contrast between the two halves of the story. Ferdinand...more
Anja Weber
The complete book is a dark hallway that he walks through Ferdinand Celine during her growing up and maturing. I do not know what is torturous, if poverty and hardships that manage it in this way, life is everywhere warped. The characters of the parents are ripe for koiji Foucault’s, perspective sanatorium or clinic physically and mentally ill, and the sick were brought to the scene of paradox in family quarrels. Parents in their own only child, are able, only to see disabled child; unsuccessful...more
bobbygw
Celine's second novel after Journey to the End of the Night, this effectively acts as a prequel to his first novel, as this focuses on Ferdinand Bardamu's (Celine's fictional alter ego) troubled childhood and youth in Paris.

What matters most, when you read Celine, is experiencing his incredibly intense emotional and intellectual viewpoint of his often desperate, existentialist, awful - and always unsolved - conundrum - of the human condition. From that, Celine wrote and described, there was - an...more
Steve Evans
This was the first book I read by this strange author, and the second he wrote. It grabbed me and I became a fan in a rather strange way...read everything I could get my hands on, went to Paris to see where he was born and grew up, where he lived in Montmarte, where he was living when he died, went to Sigmaringen where he set his "comeback" novel...and at length wrote my own second novel, Evilheart, about a man obsessed with Celine...

It's a great novel, despite some weaknesses. Tearing the veil...more
Plucino

Ritroviamo Ferdinand -alias l'Autore stesso- nel secondo romanzo di Céline che ripercorre le vicende dell'infanzia e dell'adolescenza, precedenti Viaggio al termine della notte.

Lo stile.
Per la prima volta in vita mia sono stato costretto a posare l'originale e procurarmi una traduzione. Più che una traduzione una versione quella di Giorgio Caproni, un mix di linguaggio datato e di slang - non sempre comprensibile, ma divertente... ad es. bacàn deriva dal friulano (pordenonese) per ricco possid...more
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درخواست امانت 2 9 Jun 06, 2014 12:23PM  
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  • Our Lady of the Flowers
  • Moravagine
  • The Counterfeiters
  • Maldoror and the Complete Works
  • Aurélia and Other Writings
  • Là-Bas (Down There)
  • The Wine of Youth
  • The Holy Terrors
  • Death Sentence
  • Mount Analogue
  • Witch Grass
  • La modification
  • Novels in Three Lines
  • The Interrogation
  • Man's Fate
  • Hell
  • The Neon Wilderness
  • Selected Writings
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Translated Profiles:
Луи-Фердинанд Селин

Louis-Ferdinand Celine, pen name of Dr. Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, is best known for his works Voyage au bout de la nuit (Journey to the End of the Night), and Mort à crédit (Death on the Installment Plan). His highly innovative writing style using Parisian vernacular, vulgarities, and intentionally peppering ellipses throughout the text was used to evoke th...more
More about Louis-Ferdinand Céline...
Journey to the End of the Night Guignol's Band Castle to Castle North Conversations with Professor Y

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“My trouble is insomnia. If I had always slept properly, I'd never have written a line.” 74 likes
“Maybe I'd never see him again... maybe he'd gone for good... swallowed up, body and soul, in the kind of stories you hear about... Ah, it's an awful thing... and being young doesn't help any... when you notice for the first time... the way you lose people as you go along ... the buddies you'll never see again... never again... when you notice that they've disappeared like dreams... that it's all over... finished... that you too will get lost someday... a long way off but inevitably... in the awful torrent of things and people... of the days and shapes... that pass... that never stop...” 46 likes
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