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En Route

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  172 Ratings  ·  16 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
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Czarny Pies
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those afflicted by the temptations of sex and smoking.
In this brilliant yet bizarre work, J.K. Huysmans incorporates nineteenth century Catholic monasticism into "Fin-de-Siècle" decadence despite intending to do the opposite.
"En Route" is the second of four novels that trace the spiritual progression of Huysman's literary alter ego Durtal. The first novel "La Bas" describes Durtal's experiences with satanic practices such as Black Masses and orgies. In "En Route" Durtal will begin a conversion to Catholicism by spending ten days in a Trappist monas
Jacob Frank
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Lee Foust
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a very sweet--and bittersweet--novel of our hero Durtal's desperate desire to have done with evil and the tawdriness of Parisian literary life and convert to Catholicism wholly, coming as close to a medieval experience as the modern, fin-de-siecle world was probably willing to allow. To do so he visits a Trappist monastery for a few days and gains inspiration from the hardships that the monks face as an example of total medieval-style devotion. Yeah, that's about it. And it takes 300+ pa ...more
Olga Radulović
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Should be read definitely after (or before) reading the "Submission" by Houelbecq. I think "En Route" wasn't just a peculiar case of a peculiar man in (spiritual) dire straits. You can really see that the 20th century spiritual crisis began and matured in late 19th century and that contemporaries were keenly aware of monumental changes ahead. Therefore, there is a strange kinship between the two books. As if two authors communicate with eachother, each from its own slightly perverted and elevate ...more
Victor DiFate
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Donal Anthony Foley
Conversion Story

This is a book that, despite some imperfections, makes you want to embrace a life of solitude and silence. It has some beautiful lyrical passages.
Ant Heald
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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).
Bruno Kos
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'd say this is one of the best books of the 19th century.
Nicolas Schneider
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'En route' est un fascinant roman de conversion écrit à la façon d'un long monologue intérieur et dans une langue superbement maniérée. Il ne s'y passe à proprement parler presque rien, mais chaque mouvement d'âme du protagoniste, chaque étape de la conversion, fait l'objet d'une longue et profonde analyse. Comme 'À rebours' cependant, 'En route' souffre parfois du trop plein d'érudition de son auteur : si les nombreuses références à d'obscures traités de mystique avivent l'intérêt, elles frustr ...more
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Жоріс-Карл Гюїсманс, автор, можливо, мого найулюбленішого роману, має у своєму доробку трилогію про письменника Дюрталя. Після подій першого роману, де головний герой поринає у вивчення сатанізму і окультизму, у другій книзі він осмислює пережиті страхіття, змінює свої переконання і стає на шлях католицизму. (view spoiler) ...more
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: classique
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
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
flagellation/communion wafers/oily smoke/tapers
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Charles Marie Georges Huysmans was a 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
More about Joris-Karl Huysmans

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“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.” 11 likes
“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.” 10 likes
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