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Castle to Castle (French Literature) Paperback – March 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Published in English seven years after his death (LJ 11/15/68), this is considered one of Celine's darkest novels. It is also autobiographical. Like the author, the novel's central character is a Nazi collaborator who is nonetheless destroyed by them. This translation won a National Book Award.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Castle to Castle [is] a literary event of the first order." -- Newsweek

"Castle to Castle proves how appallingly up to date its dead appalling author is. . . . Cline's style consists of outcries and exclamations, groans and curses, all in white heat, separated by dots which like machine-gun bullets mow down even the mitigating orderliness of grammar." -- Nation

"Celine's mastery in creating one of the truly cathartic experiences of contemporary literature is indisputable." -- Saturday Review

"Cline walks into great literature as other men walk into their own homes." -- Atlantic Monthly

"Cline's experiences have not mellowed him. Here, as in all his novels, . . . he hates everybody, regardless of race, creed or color. If anyone is singled out, it is his publishers, whose limousines, he says, grow even longer, while their authors, in rags, cling behind like pitiful hitchhikers. . . . the translation is a masterpiece." -- New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • Series: French Literature
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press (March 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156478150X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564781505
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,051,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
This,the first in the trilogy which depicts the author'sexperiences during the last WW,is a wacky gut-spilling,bile grittingnarrative on Celine's situation as he humorously & matter of factly relates his ordeal centered at a castle with the inhabitants there.His style in doing so:3-dot spiteroons;interjections between story lines that may surprise the unsuspecting reader;& coagulations of the story's narrative with personal thoughts from out of the blue.The crude,free form technique which has spawned numerous bastard writers is brilliantly expressed here once again.His boundless imagination & endless ideas for lashing out at people are intoxicating & admirable the least.In fact,the first 120 pages are all but scathing & brutal,if I should say heinous attacks on his opponents;& so brilliantly amusing that you wouldnt know who to feel sorry for.A man "unjustly" persecuted in his own lifetime,the pathological tales of persecution in this novel border at times on the fantastic to the point that it's quite difficult to tell whether one should believe it or not.The novel is a bit tough on the read;a few of his slang & offhand remarks demand digestible consumptions once in a while.And the childish spurts of humor that jump at times can be cute or funny,but in continous instances can be a wee bit tiring.All said,one of the best works from probably the most realistically revolutionary & most truthfully influential novelist of the 20th Century.The work of a genius.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Cliff Burns on January 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
Why aren't you reading Louis Ferdinand Celine? Few authors of the 20th century come close to the brilliance and sheer venom of the man. Nazi collaborator, anti-Semite, CASTLE TO CASTLE finds the author and his wife (and cat) on the run from the "fifis", the triumphant French Army, which is rolling through the countryside, wreaking a terrible vengeance upon any who actively cooperated with or aided the Germans. The stories of atrocities fill those who have sought shelter under the auspices of the defeated German army with terror and dread. Celine is, quite rightly, furious at the hypocrisy of it all--especially since a significant proportion of French intellectuals and artists sat out the war and certainly lied about or exaggerated their work with the Resistance. Surreal at times, always literate, Celine's voice ever-present, CASTLE TO CASTLE is one of the finest works by this tragically under-appreciated master of the printed word.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
This author changed the way I look at literature with _Journey to the End of the Night_, and I was hooked. I've read all the Celine I can get my hands on. _Castle to Castle_ is written in Celine's trademark style, and covers the later days of World War II, when Celine was living under Nazi "protection" with his wife and cat. The fury is still there, as well as some scenarios that prove he hasn't lost his touch by any means, but Celine spends an inordinate amount of time and energy COMPLAINING. Everybody's after him, he's constantly ill-treated, he gets no respect... and now, in his twilight years, he's fed up. He uses this book to launch lengthy, frequent, and tiresome attacks on his publishers. These tirades are funny to a point, but it's also sad to see a great mind devoting so much energy to such unworthy and uninteresting targets. If you like Celine's style, can handle his facist sympathizing, and are willing to endure endless litanies of the literary and critical injustices he's endured in order to read about the more interesting social and physical ones, this book is worth your time, but it does little justice to a master prose stylist and a legitimate social critic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Uncle Borges on January 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
There's Hamsun, there's Céline, D.H. Lawrence to an extent, and that wraps up the greatest three novelists of the twentieth century. Why? Because they speak the truth, the unrelenting, unmitigated, absolute truth. You can take it or leave it, but is should be said. I like to imagine that some superior intelligence out in the outer space already knows this...
Funny thing about Céline's 'war trilogy' is that it's not usually considered en par with his two classics, but it is just as mind-blowing. Of course, the Manheim translation does the justice to the genius of Dr. Destouches! Bravo.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sam Tempel on April 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
Castle to Castle is a bitter, virulent masterpiece. In it, Celine indignantly paints a portrait of the Vichy regime cowering in a castle from the regular RAF bombing runs. The characters are often well-known villains; they are just as often completely deranged about the realities of their increasingly hopeless situation.

The crumbling collaborationist regime is only the background for the main show, however: Celine's scathing misanthropy. About a fourth of it is Celine ranting about his publishers screwing him over or his jackal relatives picking through his belongings while he was being driven out for. At all times, it is sharp and humorous.

Celine is an old man when he wrote this, and it shows in the best way. His style is a bit unhinged compared to his earlier novels---he rambles and goes on tangents quite regularly. Some may find his style annoying ... one can turn to a random page and it be half ellipses. I would argue it suits him perfectly, and if anything he has improved over his career.

I highly recommend this book to Celine fans. For those new to his work, I would maybe suggest reading his earlier works (Journey to the End of the Night and Death on Credit) first, just to get used to his style and character.
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