Céline’s third novel, first published in 1944 but dealing with events taking place during the First World War, Guignol’s Band follows the narrator’s meanderings through London after he has been demobilized due to a war injury. The result is a frank, uncompromising, yet grotesquely funny portrayal of the English capital’s seedy underworld, peopled by prostitutes, pimps and schemers.
Often considered to be Céline’s funniest work, Guignol’s Band showcases its author’s idiosyncratic style at its finest, frantically blending slang, invective, onomatopoeia with literary language, and bridging the gap between gritty realism and absurd mysticism.
The most blackly humorous and disenchanted voice in all of French literature.
London Review of Books
The prose stylist of the century.
Louis-Ferdinand Céline was one of the most controversial authors of the twentieth century, a writer who mixed realism with imaginative fantasy, and like his contemporary Henry Miller, an iconoclast who shocked and frightened many of his readers. Céline, the pen name of L.F. Destouches, was a doctor in poor Parisian districts whose experience of the misery and chicanery of the poor gave him a jaundiced view of humanity that he poured into prose that is comic as well as often frightening and obscene.