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

Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline
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Nov 22, 2011

really liked it

Reading this book is like taking a personal journey to the end of night. A hard book to sell to the average reader, this is a bleak, semi-autobiographical work tells the long, dark and unhappy life of Ferdinand Bardamu. An epic book, feeling even longer than its 462 pages should, Bardamu travels through World War I, to the colonies of Africa, to America and into the poor suburbs of Paris, as a somewhat shady doctor. Seriously, there are so many journeys in here that it’s like reading five books in one! Along the way, Bardamu contemplates the ever present inevitability of death and his complete disgust for humanity. Sound fun? The thing is, Journey to the End of the Night is hilarious in a sick way. Celine also paints an incredibly vivid picture with his words that Journey, for me anyway, is more like a life experience than a book.
As for my journey–it took me 10 years to complete it! I picked up this sunny charmer in high school (probably off the shelves of my intellectual then boyfriend) and the challenge and read it until I was merely 30 or 40 pages from the end…and then I lost the book. Ten years later (aka, last month), I snatched it up in used bookshop, reread it and finally finished it with glee! I feel like if books were races, this would be my marathon!
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So if I haven’t made it clear yet, I recommend this book to intellectual, sarcastic and bitter high school students and other readers who can appreciate an amazingly written, yet meandering book filled with more depravity, disgust and musings on the brutality of life and death than you can shake a stick at. I would not recommend this book for reluctant readers or people looking for something short, sweet or sunny.
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