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Von BikerJoe Am hilfreichsten 30.01.2017
Modern Odyssey of a Mean-Spirited Cynic
It is an important book, perhaps even a great book, but it is hard to imagine that somebody really enjoys reading it. This is not because of the obscene and foul language or the revolting and ugly picture, Celine draws of mankind and society, no, it is the realization that all of this horror, senseless cruelty and violence are real. The blood and gore of wars, the misery and hunger of the poor, the sordid squalor of prostitution, the suffering of abused minors, the wretched life of exploited natives in Africa, all of this and more, Ferdinand Celine throws into your face. It is a Tour de Force of the ugly side of mankind, it is a mesmerizing tale, way beyond dark and there is not much hope given at the end.
The story is not without humor, there are a lot of bizarre and funny events, but overall it is a bitter and sarcastic tale.
The story takes the reader on a journey from the carnage of World War I to the horror of the colonies in black Africa, to the misery of the industry labor in Detroit and back to the poverty in the suburbs of Paris. While more action driven initially, the narrative turns into the rambling of a disgruntled frustrated old man towards the end. More than half of the book is devoted to the protagonist’s life and work as a doctor in the poor suburbs of Paris.
The more we learn about Ferdinand, the protagonist, the more difficult it becomes to really understand his motive and actions. His behavior becomes increasingly bizarre and it is near impossible to characterize him. He is an ardent pacifist at times, he cares about the suffering of the working class, especially about the misery of children, but at the same time, he is an extreme racist and despises the natives in Africa. He is also the worst possible womanizer and regards women as mere sex objects.
I don’t think, there is a message in the book, at least not a simple one. There is a lot of anger and disgust, but I could not find any answers.
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