Saturday, April 29, 2006

Celine: Death on the Installment Plan "Mort a Credit," the book known in English as "Death on the Installment Plan" is Celine's "Remembrance of Things Past," a fictionalized autobiography, an invocation of memories set
off, not by the pleasant aroma of a cookie dipped in tea, but by a violent,
nauseous, hallucinatory, malarial fever. This often hilarious, by turns
disturbing, novel seems almost literally vomitted upon the page. The
difference between Proust and Louis-Ferdinand Celine (born Destouches) is
indicative of this not so pleasant French literary master. His famous
nihilism and misanthropy is blurred by his theme of compassion for the
impoverished, desperate individual. "Mort," his only novel where war is not a
major theme, ends with the protagonist's decision to join the army, to
escape the simple everyday horror of childhood. "Infinity opens just for
you, a laughable little infinity and you fall into it," but that comes later…


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