BOOK 180: JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT: LOUIS-FERDINAND CÉLINE
LITERARY STYLE: Céline's first novel is probably most remarkable for its style. Céline makes extensive use of ellipsisand hyperbole. His writing has the flow of natural speech patterns and uses the vernacular, while also employing more erudite elements. This has influenced French literature considerably. The novel enjoyed popular success and a fair amount of critical acclaim when it was published in October 1932. Albert Thibaudet, perhaps the greatest of the entre-deux-guerres critics, said that in January 1933 it was still a common topic of conversation at dinner parties in Paris.
INFLUENCE AND LEGACY: Paolo Sorrentino's 2013 film The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) opens with a quote from Journey to the End of the Night. The film concludes with a visual of the last paragraph of the book, passing under bridges, arches, and locks along the city's river.
Will Self has written that Journey to the End of the Night "is the novel, perhaps more than any other, that inspired me to write fiction".
The song "End of the Night" by The Doors references this book, as it had a great influence on the work of Jim Morrison.
Charles Bukowski makes reference to Journey in a number of his novels and short stories, and employs prose techniques borrowed from Céline. Bukowski wrote in Notes of a Dirty Old Man that "Céline was the greatest writer of 2000 years".
Céline's literary style greatly influenced Joseph Heller's Catch-22.
In Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 dystopian science fiction film Alphaville, protagonist Lemmy Caution dismisses a taxi driver's offer of route options to his destination by stating that he is on "a journey to the end of the night". The film depicts the use of poetry as a weapon against a sentient computer system.
I can understand why this is cited as a great novel, however I did not enjoy it at all. This book probably, of all the books I’ve ever read, took me the longest to complete. The only reason I can give, is because of the disheartening subject matter that although travelling around the world to many different situations almost each one was more, or as, depressing as the last. There is no hope is this book, no humour, no let up, and because of that I found it difficult to get through. The protagonist is more unlikable the longer the story progresses and I found it hard to sympathize with him even when he was in sympathetic situations. I can see that it is well written, I believe there’s no argument on that part, but above all I want to be able to enjoy reading a book and I did not enjoy one part of this.