Search This Blog

Friday, February 12, 2021

Death on the Installment Plan (Experimental Fiction)


by Louis-Ferdinand Céline  (Author), Ralph Manheim (Translator)

Publisher : New Directions (January 17, 1971)

Softcover, 592 pages

Amazon Listing

“Junk is fragile. I ruined tons of stuff, never on purpose. The thought of antiques still makes me sick, but that was our bread and butter. The scrapings of time are sad. . . lousy, sickening. We sold the stuff over the customer's dead body. We'd wear him down. We'd drown his wits in floods of hokum. . . incredible bargains. . . we were merciless. . . He couldn't win. . . If he had any wits to begin with, we demolished them. . . He'd walk out stunned with the Louis XIII cup in his pocket, the openwork fan with cat and shepherdess wrapped in tissue paper. You can't imagine how they revolted me, grown-ups taking such crap home with them.”

This is the sequel to Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s autobiography Journey to the End of Night. This is not meant to be a complete blow-by-blow truthful account of his childhood. It’s too precise with long bouts of dialogue and wild abuse of ellipsis to fully make this a comprehensive chronological book. Say that it is emotionally accurate to the author’s growing up and trying to succeed in the slums of Paris around the turn of the previous century.

Author Louis-Ferdinand Céline

The action often moves into fantasy and the style becomes deliberately rougher. Sentences disintegrate to hook the taste of the crawling world of the Paris slums. The sleazy stories of families whose destiny is ruled by their own stupidity and greed.

I’m sure many people would become frustrated by this novel's bizarre style, dips into fantasy, and otherwise amoral tone, however it offers a profound vision of the nature of human existence for the socio-economically deprived, rooted in suffering and inertia. The book expresses ideas that stretch the limitations of perception while providing almost no structure to assign any meaning to life as a whole.

 For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst

The author reclined

No comments:

Post a Comment