Humans are proved, in the end, to be just particles and just as bodies decay a theme in the book they can also be created from particles. The story unfolds as a sort of framed narrative, so despite the events described therein having taken place mostly in , the story is essentially set some fifty or so years in the future. Michel is raised by his paternal grandmother and becomes an introverted molecular biologist, who is ultimately responsible for the discoveries which lead to the elimination of sexual reproduction. Bruno grows into a lecherous and insatiable sex addict whose dalliances with prostitutes and sex chat on Minitel do nothing to satisfy him, to the point where he finds himself on disability leave from his job and in a mental hospital after a failed attempt at seducing one of his students.
|Published (Last):||17 February 2019|
|PDF File Size:||17.15 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||12.68 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
In a lengthy autobiographical article published on his website now defunct , he states that his parents "lost interest in [his] existence pretty quickly", and at the age of six, he was sent to France to live with his paternal grandmother, a communist , while his mother left to live a hippie lifestyle in Brazil with her recent boyfriend.
He graduated in , married and had a son; then he divorced, and became depressed. They divorced in Six years later, in , he published a biographical essay on the horror writer H. Lovecraft , a teenage passion, with the programmatic subtitle Against the World, Against Life. It was followed by his first collection of poetry, La poursuite du bonheur The pursuit of happiness.
Meanwhile, he worked as a computer administrator in Paris, including at the French National Assembly , before he became the so-called " pop star of the single generation"[ citation needed ], starting to gain fame in with his debut novel Extension du domaine de la lutte , published by Maurice Nadeau translated in English by Paul Hammond and published as Whatever. Most of those texts were later collected in Interventions The novel became an instant " nihilistic classic", and was mostly praised for the boldness of its ideas and thought-provoking qualities, although it was also heavily criticized for its relentless bleakness and vivid depictions of racism , paedophilia , torture , as well as for being an apology for eugenics Michiko Kakutani described it in The New York Times as "a deeply repugnant read" .
In , Houellebecq published the short fiction Lanzarote published in France with a volume of his photographs , in which he explores a number of the themes he would develop in later novels, including sex tourism and fringe religions. His subsequent novel, Plateforme Platform, , was another critical and commercial success. A first-person romance narrated by a year-old male arts administrator named Michel who shares many real life characteristics with the author, including his apathy and low self-esteem , it includes a hopeless depiction of life as well as numerous sex scenes, some of which display an approving attitude towards prostitution and sex tourism.
The huge controversy in the media subsided following the terrorist attacks of September 11, Houellebecq later adapted and directed a movie based on this novel , which was a critical and commercial failure. Houellebecq has also released three music albums on which he recites or sings selected excerpts from his poetry. The original French title of Whatever, Extension du domaine de la lutte literally "broadening of the field of struggle" , alludes to economic competition extending into the search for relationships.
As the book says, a free market has absolute winners and absolute losers, and the same applies to relationships in a society that does not value monogamy but rather exhorts people to seek the happiness that always eludes them through the path of sexual consumerism, in pursuit of narcissistic satisfaction. Similarly, Platform carries to its logical conclusion the touristic phenomenon, where Westerners of both sexes go on organized trips to developing countries in search of exotic locations and climates.
In the novel, a similar popular demand arises for sex tourism, organized and sold in a corporate and professional fashion. Sex tourists are willing to sacrifice financially to experience the instinctual expression of sexuality, which has been better preserved in poor countries whose people are focused on the struggle for survival. This is the tale of an accidental art star and is full of insights on the contemporary art scene. Slate magazine accused him of plagiarising some passages of this book from French Wikipedia.
The book describes a future situation in France, set in , when a Muslim party, following a victory against the National Front , is ruling the country according to Islamic law , which again generated heated controversy and accusations of islamophobia. On the same date, a cartoon of Houellebecq appeared on the cover page of Charlie Hebdo with the caption "The Predictions of Wizard Houellebecq," eerily ironic in retrospect.
A friend of his, Bernard Maris , was killed in that shooting. In an interview with Antoine de Caunes after the shooting, Houellebecq stated he was unwell and had cancelled the promotional tour for Submission. Extension du domaine de la lutte has been adapted into a film with the same title by Philippe Harel , and later adapted as a play in Danish by Jens Albinus for the Royal Danish Theatre. The film premiered in at the 56th Berlin International Film Festival.
Views on politics and religion[ edit ] In , Houellebecq drew up a "project for a new constitution" based on direct democracy which would render the president of the republic elected for life, but instantly revocable by a simple popular referendum, and would permit the people to elect judges. In , during an interview about his book Platform published in the literary magazine Lire , Houellebecq remarked: Islam is a dangerous religion, and has been from the moment it appeared.
Fortunately, it is doomed. On one hand, because God does not exist, and even if someone is an idiot, he will eventually realize that. In the long run, the truth will triumph.
On the other hand, Islam is undermined from the inside by capitalism. We can only hope that it will triumph rapidly. Materialism is a lesser evil. Its values are contemptible, but nevertheless less destructive, less cruel than those of Islam. He told a court in Paris that his words had been twisted, saying: "I have never displayed the least contempt for Muslims [but] I have as much contempt as ever for Islam".
From the start, they were texts of hatred. The critics have made up their minds. Great novels usually concern the relationships, institutions, and ideals out of which the "bourgeois" social order is knit together—marriages, schools, jobs, piety, patriotism.
But in our time, relationships fail to take root. Institutions fall apart. The visible social order seems not to be the real one. Many novelists limit their vision to those narrow precincts where the world still makes sense or can be made to make sense in the way it did to Balzac or Flaubert Houellebecq is up to something different.
He places his characters in front of specific, vivid, contemporary challenges, often humiliating and often mediated by technology: Internet pornography, genetic research, terrorism, prescription drug addiction. This technological mediation can make his characters seem isolated, and yet it is an isolation with which any contemporary can at least empathize.
The Outsider is Everyman.
The Elementary Particles
In a lengthy autobiographical article published on his website now defunct , he states that his parents "lost interest in [his] existence pretty quickly", and at the age of six, he was sent to France to live with his paternal grandmother, a communist , while his mother left to live a hippie lifestyle in Brazil with her recent boyfriend. He graduated in , married and had a son; then he divorced, and became depressed. They divorced in Six years later, in , he published a biographical essay on the horror writer H. Lovecraft , a teenage passion, with the programmatic subtitle Against the World, Against Life. It was followed by his first collection of poetry, La poursuite du bonheur The pursuit of happiness. Meanwhile, he worked as a computer administrator in Paris, including at the French National Assembly , before he became the so-called " pop star of the single generation"[ citation needed ], starting to gain fame in with his debut novel Extension du domaine de la lutte , published by Maurice Nadeau translated in English by Paul Hammond and published as Whatever.
At the time, Houellebecq was a virtual unknown even in France. Part dialectic, part polemic, part digest history of the twentieth century, it is funny, intelligent, infuriating, didactic, touching, visceral, explicit and, possibly, dangerous. This was the book which made it possible for me to become a full-time translator. Atomised is also very, very funny. His bitterness is that of the disappointed idealist. You may remain convinced that Houellebecq is wrong in his relentlessly bleak assessment of society and human nature.