Céline has moved me more than any other writer, including Buk. And I can understand why Buk liked him so much. The first one I read was Journey... which was brilliant, but to me Death on the Instalment Plan brought out a full spectrum of emotions, along with pure amazement.
I am sure that I have said that elsewhere, but the fact remains.
I've read Journey and Death, both in French while I was at school. There are some great lines from Journey I think of still. Can't remember much of the second -- after Black Swan's comment, I'll make a point of finding a copy and re-reading it. Tried Guignol's Band, but my argot was too weak and it was too much of a slog to read.
I'd recommend Ralph Manheim's translation, instead of the original one by John H. P. Marks - the latter is fine work, but was heavily censored when it came out in the 1930s, lest tender anglo ears be offended.
Yeah I agree with the Manheim's translation too.
Although I'm French, I read Céline in English first. I admit that the french argot is very difficult to get , probably because I'm from Canada.
I gave up half way through of Guignol's.....
All you need is 'Journey to the End of the Night'. That's Celine's blueprint. What he took to write it, I have no idea! A cocktail of speed and amphetamines. Did they have drugs like that in the 1930s?
Following 'Journey', I tried to read one other but it made me yawn. It might have been 'Death on Credit' or something! All his juice had gone into 'Journey'!
Make sure you get an edition that has all the expletives intact. I recommend the Calder edition, beaut language and a great front cover: