Michel Houellebecq's The Elementary Particles follows these brothers through the latter half of the 20th century. Bruno and Michel are buffeted by history, vessels of disappointment and desire rocked by the ocean of time. Shuttled away to a boarding school where he's sexually abused by other boys, Bruno grows up full of twisted sexual longings and a contempt for aging women so palpable that at times it's stomach-churning. At a commune in the country, Bruno takes stock:
The women were intolerable at breakfast, but by cocktail hour the mystical tarts were hopelessly vying with younger women once again. Death is the great leveler. On Wednesday afternoon he met Catherine, a fifty-year-old who had been a feminist of the old school. She was tanned, with dark curly hair; she must have been very attractive when she was twenty. Her breasts were still in good shape, he thought when he saw her by the pool, but she had a fat ass.Michel doesn't hate women; he doesn't even notice them. Instead of leering at bodies by the pool, he stares at particles in microscopes. He wins prizes for his experiments, but never experiences the rush of life. For both men, the damage has been done by history, by mother, before the story begins. What interests Houellebecq are the permutations and recapitulations of damage--the way the particles of the self can never be completely reconstituted. --Emily White --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Speaking truth to power makes enemies.
The last part of the novel leaps forward into the future where many struggling authors tend to go when they don't know the right way to end a book.
Its a harsh look at modern society, and although written for France, I feel that the ideas about the present situation apply to the US also.
This was an extremely provocative, visionary book. Houellebecq writes with Camus' calm, austere voice, but the story he tells is much more grand than Camus' work. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lambert J. Mathieu
I admit this book came to my life in a bad moment (little free time), and that maybe in other circumstances I would have liked it more, but I didn't find this book to be able to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alex
The cold, clinical style of this is really well done. Houellebecq, much like Bret Easton Ellis and Tao Lin, strips his prose of any possible trace of romance or melodrama, and what... Read morePublished 6 months ago by jafrank
Gratuitous sex. For those who have read this book, it’s not a surprising initial comment. The sex in “The Elementary Particles” is graphic, drawn-out, and explicit. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amrit Chima
The author apparently thinks most humans are a waste of skin and writes his characters to match. I didn't see anything particularly insightful or entertaining in the author's... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
The advantage of this book is the ability to see some roses (or flowers) of romance rising from an almost impossible world to live in. Read morePublished 17 months ago by HP
The quality of the book was fine expect the outer cover was missing. I liked very much book. It's really exciting well written story with lot of "kitchen philosophy".Published 20 months ago by Keresztényi Ádám
This is a grim book, with characters that are related through circumstances, but who all individually are futiley seeking to salve their empty souls. Read morePublished 22 months ago by W. Murray
Read the book in a couple of days, struggled to understand philosophical parts but towards the end, it just hit me! Read morePublished on September 14, 2012 by sophie