Journey to the End of the Night
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Journey to the End of the Night

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  13,920 ratings  ·  694 reviews
Louis-Ferdinand Celine's revulsion and anger at what he considered the idiocy and hypocrisy of society explodes from nearly every page 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 pub...more
Paperback, 453 pages
Published May 17th 2006 by New Directions Publishing Corporation (first published 1932)
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Mike Puma
Mar 26, 2012 Mike Puma rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: good freakin' question

Whoa. Just finished, processing, mulling, wondering…what do I say? How do you prepare someone? Should someone be prepared (I wasn’t)? Imagine the most depressing story you’ve ever read (and I’ve read ALL of McCarthy), narrated by the angriest of narrators (who may mellow, then again, maybe readers simply become hardened), describing circumstances that are necessarily ugly (war, colonial Africa) or merely simply ugly (contemporary culture, old people, young people, other people), but then told wi

Apparently, for a week or so in June 1997 I either lost my sense of humor or felt some kind of glow of optimism that made me feel the misanthropic subject of this book was boring. My principle memories of reading this for the first time were a) being bored and b) buying a bunch of The Smiths and The Cure tapes at a garage sale.

For some reason when I saw this book sitting on my bookshelf last week I thought I'd give it another try. Why? I don't know exactly. I have lots of unread books, but I fe...more
Celine’s Journey to the End of Night is a towering achievement in literary observation through a narrator incapable of self-delusion and a less than stringent filter between his thoughts and his audience. Plus, it’s funny as hell.

The novel reads as the author’s travelogue through war-torn Europe, remote Africa, industrialized America, and post-war France. I have no idea how much of Journey to the End of Night is factual and how much is fiction, and I don’t care either way. At points Celine sound...more
Ben Loory
just finished reading it and it really feels like it might be the central book of the entire 20th century. i see catch-22 and henry miller and william burroughs and kerouac and sartre and beckett and bukowski and vonnegut and hunter s. thompson and bret easton ellis and about a million other people... celine's voice is just so clear now, standing behind all of them... it's not even that i like the book so much (though it's ferocious and fun and has a lot of great lines), it's just that it's like...more
Sep 30, 2012 Alison rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Teenagers that just don't give a fuck; Fans of Burroughs and Jim Morrison (probably also teenagers)
Fifteen years of sitting on my bookshelves and I finally get around to reading it. This is a little bit sad, because I would have loved this book fifteen years ago, when I believed bitter misanthropy and self-indulgent misery were the only true lenses through which humanity should be viewed. Of course, I was in high school at the time (and it was boarding school at that),so that explained it.

At age thirty-two, Journey to the End of the Night set somewhat differently with me. Ferdinand Bardamu's...more
This is undoubtedly one of the great novels. It is misanthropic in the extreme; the author really doesn’t like anyone, including himself. Often written in the vernacular, brutal, comic and ranging over three continents and a World War. There is a strong element of the autobiographical in it. It has also influenced more great writers than you can shake a sock at. The list is a remarkable one; Beckett, Sartre (briefly). Genet, Barthes, Miller, Bukowski, Heller, Vonnegut, Ken Kesey, Kerouac, Gunter...more
Marco Tamborrino
Esistono degli scrittori mediocri e degli scrittori discreti. Poi vengono quelli bravi e ancora dopo quelli bravissimi. Infine, sull'ultimo gradino, c'è Céline.

Ho impiegato due mesi per leggere uno dei più bei libri che mi sia mai capitato tra le mani. Una fatica enorme, sul serio. Ogni pagina è ricca di cinismo, le parole si rincorrono tra annichilimento e comicità come mai nessun altro autore ha osato fare. Blasfemo, provocante, immorale, sporco, depravato. Ma anche commovente e dolce, fino ad...more
MJ Nicholls
A full-on misanthropic epic, like if E.M. Cioran met Thom Yorke for a fly pie in a Nigerian slum. Céline is a deliberately choppy, lawless stylist, Dostoevskian in his fondness for the nerve-racked ellipsis and the hysterical exclamation point (tics that would characterise his later, practically unreadable, work). Bardamu is the Céline stand-in whose detached cruelty acts as a necessary galvaniser for his adventures in WWI, French-occupied African hinterlands and a stint in a freshly industriali...more
Hilarious, scathing and-oh-so-very-bitter, Journey to the End of the Night is a beautifully written - and translated - paean to misanthropy and the general crumminess of man. The novel comprises the journeys of Céline's alter-ego, Ferdinand Bardemu, from a frightened and bewildered soldier in World War I to the jungles of Central Africa, the materialist and well-kept streets of a booming America, and back again to France to eke out a living as a listless doctor amongst the petty-bourgeois of the...more
Finally, after a busy week, I have finished my journey to the end of this book. Savage, brutal, disgusting, repulsive, and misanthropic are not necessarily adjectives I would use to describe a masterpiece, but with Celine, they're all meant as compliments.

Is it the most pessimistically scathing book ever written? I think so.

Simona Bartolotta
"Gli hai fatto forse schifo all'esistenza? Sarebbe normale."

Se avessi la certezza di riuscire a trasmettere a chi ora mi legge almeno un decimo, ma che dico, anche solo un centesimo di tutto ciò che Viaggio al termine della notte è stato capace di dare a me, mi riterrei soddisfatta. Purtroppo questa certezza non ce l’ho. Mica siamo tutti come Céline.
Céline… che scrittore! Dire che la sua capacità evocativa è fuori dal comune è un insulto. Di comune non ha proprio niente, è anni luce avanti rispe...more
Emilian Kasemi
Our life is a journey
Through winter and night,
We look for our way
In a sky without light.

(Song of the Swiss Guards, 1793)

Everything gets taken the wrong way. I’ve been the cause of too much evil.
Just think of all the deaths, the hatreds around me… the treachery...the sewer it adds up to... the monsters…
Oh, you’ve got to be blind and deaf!
You’ll say: but it’s not "Journey"! It’s your crimes that are killing you, "Journey" has nothing to do with it. You yourself have been your ruin! Your Bagatelle
Mar 22, 2009 Tyler rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adults; Curiosity-driven Cats
Recommended to Tyler by: BBC Big Read List
Shelves: superb, unusual
Even if curious cats sniff about for ever intenser reading, I don’t know if I should go so far as to promote a book that hisses, fizzes, pops and spits at you. Such seething pages could blow up in the hands of the unsuspecting. I’ll say only that this snarling commentary on human nature isn’t child’s play.

The tale recounts a young Frenchman’s life from 1914 to the mid-1930's, told by the man himself. More precisely, it’s an unsparing stripping down of the ordinary people he encounters. The book'...more
Bukowski was right: "first of all read Céline; the greatest writer of 2,000 years". Its clear now, Bukowski wanted to be Celine, he failed miserably with his novels though...

Anyways, "Joureny to the end of the night" is not a war novel, but still I consider it the ultimate war novel; thus far. What was said in the first hundred pages makes Catch-22 pale in comparison. Well written, funny, dark, pessimistic. Everything one person needs! I fuckin hate Catch-22 (see catch-22 review for full hatred...more
The book I would choose if I could keep only one book. Witnessing World War I, Celine understood what entering the modern era meant, and the writing it required.
Bardamu, the main character, is simultaneously cynical and caring, kind and criminal. He contains the contradiction of cruelty and kindness present in real people. The book follows him as a soldier in World War I, a businessman in Africa, an assembly line worker in the U.S., and a doctor in the shitty suburbs of Paris, and the many mee...more
Per una singolare coincidenza (e le coincidenze, si sa, non sono mai casuali), mi è accaduto di terminare la lettura di questo romanzo mentre iniziavo la lettura di un libro che gli si oppone, in tutto e per tutto; e di inciampare in un pensiero che sintetizza perfettamente la mia idea sul "Viaggio" Celiniano. Scrive Calamandrei: «...penso che l'arte consista sì nell'esprimere i sentimenti degli uomini, ma anche nel fare prima di esprimerli una scelta fra essi, in modo da fare apparire in primo...more
Adam Floridia
Prefatory Ramblings: Has becoming a father made me soft? I feel like I’ve been giving out more five-star ratings of late. Maybe I’ve just been reading some truly great stuff—that’s the assumption I’m going with anyway.

It took me over a month to read this, which is longer than usual. There was a good chunk of time where I could not seem to read more than two or three pages at a time, which is very unusual. Because of both of those factors—and because of the diverse adventures/milieus in the novel...more
They’ve been very polite about it so far, but the library has made it clear that they want their damn CDs back already. So Céline is making a voyage á la bibliothèque. C’est dommage, because this one of the few novels that’ve turned me on lately. I need to go back to this some day; I need to listen to more French audiobooks; I need to move to Paris and berate tourists in comically accented English and take a mistress d’un certain age. But mostly I need to finish a book so I can stop writing thes...more
Way funnier than I remember from an earlier reading (about ten or so years ago). It's clear from the first 100-or so pages that Henry Miller ripped off his best stuff from this. Imagine a way more nihilistic Tropic of Cancer and you get the idea. Perhaps it's the new translation, but his voice is so direct, so conversational...and he really gets to the core of things in a quick sentence or two. I forgot how good some existentialist writing can be. Profound, funny, sick, offensive. Everything you...more
Sep 11, 2008 Maarten rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: incurable optimists
Where to start? Probably at the beginning. The edition I picked is not the one I read (mine was in Dutch), but it WAS the edition that got me to reading it in the first place.

What happened? Well, when I was walking around in Amsterdam many years ago, I heard a soprano voice singing above the clatter and clamour of traffic and people. A nice young girl was standing in front of what was then Australian Icecream on the corner of the Leidsestraat and another street, and as I happened to still be ca...more
El mundo es un lugar asqueroso, repugnante. Es lo que parece estar diciéndome Céline. Y lo mejor de todo es que me convence. A mí, que no puedo ser más optimista empedernida ni romántica declarada e incansable. Pero es que, joder, tiene argumentos. ¿Por qué no iba a creerlo? ¿Por qué no iba a creer algo que me está plantando delante de las narices?

Diría que tendría que haber leído antes este libro, pero sería mentira. Si lo hubiese leído antes toda esa pesadumbre que destila sus páginas me hubi...more
Nate D
Dec 02, 2010 Nate D rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: buried oracles of cynicism
Recommended to Nate D by: Bukowski
I've been gradually working my way through this treatise of apocalyptic modern life for most of the year. At first I couldn't wait to be finished and so kept setting it aside for other books, bitterly annoyed by what I perceived as a pettiness, a lazy and undirected vitriol for all things outside a narrator who did nothing to help himself. But gradually, either the book or I have changed. I have some pretty sharp objections to Celine's views, but at this point, writing this first novel, he seems...more
Masoome Ya
خیال برت ندارد،آدمها چیزی برای گفتن ندارند.واقعیت این است که هر کس فقط از دردهای خودش با دیگری حرف می زند.هرکس برای خودش و دنیا برای همه.


آدم به سرعت پیر می شود، آن هم بدون اینکه بازگشتی در کار باشد.وقتی بدون اراده به بدبختی عادت کردی و حتی دوستش داشتی،آنوقت متوجه قضیه می شوی.طبیعت از تو قوی تر است.تو را در قالبی امتحان می کند و آنوقت دیگر نمی توانی از آن بیرون بیایی ، نقش ات و سرنوشتت را بدون اینکه بفهمی کم کمک جدی می گیری و بعد وقتی سر برمی گردانی، می بینی که دیگر برای تغییر وقتی نیست.سر تا
A long, beautiful, hilarious, vile, cynical rant about everything and everyone. Bile drips from every page.

The author-surrogate travels from Paris to the hellscape of the first world war to the dank oppressive heat of a colonial jungle, and the gleaming lonely crowds of New York and Detroit. The author has a keen eye for the ugliness and bitterness and loneliness of modern living, and takes his time to appreciate and lovingly describe each thing he hates.

This is a fascinating book. Christ, what...more
لحظه هایی هست که تنهای تنها می شوی و به آخر هر چیزی که ممکن است برایت اتفاق بیفتد نی رسی . این آخر دنیاست . خئد غصه , غصه تو دیگر جوابگویت نیست و باید به عقب برگردی , وسط آدم ها , هر که می خواهد باشد . در این جور لحظه ها به خودت سخت نمی گیری , چون حتی به خاطر اشک ریختن هم باید به آغاز هرچیز برگردی , به جایی که همه دیگران هستند .

Aux risques (et aux périls☺) d’être traitée de pimbêche à mon tour, et même si moi aussi, aux lectures obligatoires et livres essentiels j’y crois pas trop, je ne peux résister de poser la même question que Daniel Pennac énumérait parmi les crétines dans son Comme un roman : Comment, vous n’avez pas lu (encore) Voyage au bout de la nuit ?
Car il le faudrait, mes amis, il le faudrait. Surtout vu que ma question n’a aucune connotation dédaigneuse et tout l’enthousiasme d’avoir découvert ce roman n...more
Journey to the End of the Night, semi-autobiographical work where Louis-Ferdinand Celine presents his alter ego Ferdinand Bardamu who express his general hatred, distrust or disdain of the human species or human nature and making his novel Journey to the End of the Night as one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.... misanthropic masterpiece.

Journey to the End of the Night is one of the most difficult novels which I read in 2013, it really tests your patience.

The book begins from war...more
Not being the biggest fan of existentialism myself, I was somewhat surprised at how much I ended up enjoying this work, which happens to be my introduction to Celine. I don't care if this work isn't entirely biographical, if anything, it would've probably been the fictional elements that made the story as impacting and immense as it was. Will probably need re-reading 10 or so years later down the track, but it's one of those few books that I wouldn't mind doing just so.
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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...
Death on the Installment Plan Guignol's Band Castle to Castle North Conversations with Professor Y

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“The sadness of the world has different ways of getting to people, but it seems to succeed almost every time.” 166 likes
“An unfamiliar city is a fine thing. That's the time and place when you can suppose that all the people you meet are nice. It's dream time. ” 122 likes
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