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En Route

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  95 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Continues the story of Durtal, a modern anti-hero, from the cult author of French decadence Solitary, agonised and alienated, robbed of religion and plunged into decadence by the pressures of modern life, Durtal discovers a new road to Rome. Art, architecture and music light his way back to God. For Durtal, God's death is a temporary demise, and by the end of the novel, he ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Dedalus (first published 1895)
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The continuance of the conversion of Durtal as begun in the richly descriptive La-Bas (Down There), as he wanders from church to church in Paris trying to obtain some sort of divine encounter particular to how he sees fit for such a discriminating individual as himself. Eventually, he is pointed to a Trappist monastery where he finally finds the mystical vision he seeks. This sequel falls flat in almost every conceivable manner even though Huysmans maintains his propensity for observance of the ...more
Jacob Frank
This book is the saga of Durtal, the character from La-Bas, which I read and reviewed previously. Out of repugnance for society and his own dissolute life, Durtal turns to the Church. This is apparently roughly based on Huysmans’ own life. His path eventually leads him to a 10-day retreat at a Trappist monastery, where he receives the sacraments, battles against his inner demons, and in the process learns all about monastic life. This book is remarkable both for its protagonist and for its explo ...more
Huysmans continues his personal semi-autobiographical journey that began in 'A Rebours', continued through 'La Bas' and now in 'En Route'. After dragging himself through the extremes of decadence, Satanism and intellectual transgression, Huysmans' character Durtal awakens one day to suddenly find his religious faith returned. Durtal then goes on the hunt for religion to correspond with his newfound fervour.
For a man like Durtal however, this is far from easy. His sensitive artistic soul is confo
Une richesse de vocabulaire incroyable, des bonheurs d'écriture, un style prenant font que l'on suit bon gré mal gré le cheminement de cet antipathique et macho Durtal sur les chemins de la bondieuserie. Evidemment, cela sent le soufre aussi... Il y a aussi une misogynie incroyable de naïveté, les femmes n'ont pas vraiment la cote, et les rapports amoureux sont à sens unique et considérés comme salissants. On voit où Houellebecq s'inspire. Mais, malgré tout, cette mystique catholique, ces étourd ...more
Ant Heald
A brilliant evocation of the interior journey of religious conversion: the reluctance, the glory, the resistance, the horror. I read, as students will, Au Rebours, and La Bas, for their shimmering decadence and self-loathing. The common thread through these novels for me is the search for authentic experience, and the tension between finding oneself and losing oneself (and the possibility of doing the former through the latter).
Victor DiFate
One of my favorite books of all-time. I'm not even remotely religious but the book was so sincere that I felt continually grateful that Huysmans was sharing such a personal story about religious conversion. I also found the work to be remarkably intense; I think every line was on the subject of conversion and the protagonist's struggles with it. Highly, highly recommended to anyone with an open mind, even an atheist.
flagellation/communion wafers/oily smoke/tapers
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French novelist who published his works as Joris-Karl Huysmans. He is most famous for the novel À rebours (Against Nature). His style is remarkable for its idiosyncratic use of the French language, wide-ranging vocabulary, wealth of detailed and sensuous description, and biting, satirical wit. The novels are also noteworthy for their encyclopaedic documentation, ranging from the catalogue of decad ...more
More about Joris-Karl Huysmans...
Against Nature (A Rebours) Là-Bas (Down There) With the Flow Becalmed The Cathedral

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“There are two ways of ridding ourselves of a thing which burdens us, casting it away or letting it fall. To cast away requires an effort of which we may not be capable, to let fall imposes no labour, is simpler, without peril, within reach of all. To cast away, again, implies a certain interest, a certain animation, even a certain fear; to let fall is absolute indifference, absolute contempt; believe me, use this method, and Satan will flee.” 6 likes
“But that which remains for ever incomprehensible is the initial horror, the horror imposed on each of us, of having to live, and that is a mystery no philosophy can explain.” 3 likes
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