Amy's Reviews > Journey to the End of the Night

Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline
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May 25, 09

bookshelves: barthelme-syllabus
Read in June, 2008

Journey to the End of Night is like a "hero's journey" story but our hero, Ferdinand Bardamu, is kinda an asshole, but he's not unsympathetic. Bardamu starts by joining the French military and fighting in a war, then travelling to Africa, then on to America (New York and Detroit), then back to France. He works a variety of jobs, fucks a variety of women, and basically has some adventures of an ordinary caliber. His view of humanity is not often pleasant or optimistic, but then the world is full of idiots, jerks, and people with their own agendas.

Over and over again the words "night" and "darkness" come up. While sometimes they are literal, mainly they seem to describe the default feelings of many people. A sense of pointlessness or depression, emptiness or tedium, and ultimately death. It takes effort to escape the "night" and often there are only moments of "light" or "day" to break it up. As harsh as it may come across, it's difficult not to see some truth in this viewpoint of the human condition.
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