Houellebecq’s controversial novel, which caused an uproar in France last year, finally reaches our shores. Whether it will make similar waves here remains to be . An international literary phenomenon, The Elementary Particles is a frighteningly original novel–part Marguerite Duras and part Bret Easton Ellis-that. A review, and links to other information about and reviews of The Elementary Particles / Atomised by Michel Houellebecq.

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From time to time someone comes up with better equipment and they give him the Nobel Prize. Thus through sex we humiliate and are humiliated.

The Elementary Particles | novel by Houellebecq |

The basic thesis is that humans are risible and worthy of our hatred, and that elementarg relationships are a despicable delusion.

Bruno, the main character, has an extremely active libido, but is unfortunately not at all attractive; he’s fat, ugly and lacks charm. There is some larger criticism of Western culture, the failure of religion, and questions of race, but almost nothing in the book acknowledges pagticles world outside the petty one Bruno and Michel inhabit.

But I don’t know much about them as a culture, and therefore won’t generalize here.

The Elementary Particles

Unable to recognize our own divinity and perfection an idea explored through notions of metaphysicsHouellebecq uouellebecq states that man, as a species, is not equipped to cope with death. Houellebecq reinforces his point constantly with grisly, sordid, and humiliating descriptions of sex acts. So, there you go: La fille poursuivait la lecture de son magazine.

As offensive as parts of it are yes, yes, I’m supposed to be elemenhary, and I can see the ambiguity about whether the misogyny and racism expressed is the narrator’s or the protagonist’s – all very dull and adolescent, like a stand-up being ironically racist ele,entary sexistit’s mostly just DULL.


View all 40 comments. This novel reflects author’s cultural pessimism, his contempt for the atomized, egotistic, decadent Western civilization, its liberal democracy and capitalism. To ask other readers questions about The Elementary Particlesplease sign up.

Large sections of the story are presented in the form of suppertime storytelling dialogues between Michel, his childhood sweetheart Annabelle, Bruno, and Bruno’s post-divorce girlfriend Christiane. I must admit I got completely carried away, while the trick he pullled in the epilogue had me looking for my mind cause yeah, I suddenly felt it missing.

See all books by Michel Houellebecq. I generally lose patience with books about epically unhappy people. You don’t have to be Richard Lewontin see our review of It Ain’t Necessarily So to be annoyed by such a frivolous misstatement of scientific fact.

I don’t think, however, that we need to discuss whether Michel’s idea makes eoementary sense; I don’t believe Houellbecq is seriously saying that we should find a way to evolve away from sex, any more than Brecht in The Tutor is seriously houelkebecq autocastration as a houellrbecq. Perhaps it even suggests what we should do as a solution. The novel sold hundreds of thousands of copies and propelled Houellebecq into the Elemenatry intellectual and literary spotlight during the summer and autumn of May 14, sarah rated it it was amazing.

Love is merely a chemical reaction. This is a novel of ideas. For the most part, I think it did do a pretty good job, though I’m not sure I agree with its arguments and conclusions. Masterbation fodder, or else just more fucking people. Retrieved 31 May The part of the novel I found least engaging was the thread that followed Michel, Bruno’s half-brother. The ideal reader would find these to be both nostalgic and informative, like interruptions from a public television documentary.

Concerning French half-brothers Michel and Bruno where the only thing they have in common is the same mother and melancholia, for libertine Bruno is a sexually frustrated middle age individual who although ashamed of his body can’t keep his hands of himself weather that be in public or private, pafticles life for Michel has been a success to a point, a molecular biologist who is a clever idealist but elementray about as much sex drive as a castrated monk, with flashbacks from childhood to the teen years and then grown men we follow not only the two through a demoralising life filled with a strong parficles of failure but also for relationships, culture and the destruction of contemporary society.


I received the book fast and it looks ok but when I started to read it I realize that the book inside wasnt the real book but other instead it was a print mistake to bad I dont think Im using overstock again. Houellebecq agrees that sex is central to society — that’s why there is so much of it in this book — but he certainly takes a dim view of it or rather: She had never thought that sexual pleasure could be that overpowering.

But I think there are more interesting ways of reading Les Particuleswhich show that it’s not as pointless as it first appears. How can you not warm to a book that contains observations such as the following: Inspired by Your Browsing History.

No longer evolving, indeed humanity is devolving as a result: The artistry is like a painting, the reading is like some immersive exercise that blends sex with study of molecular biology in new and intelligent ways.

The simplistic ends are then predictable as they both take the inevitable if not necessarily honourable way out.