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Whatever (Serpent's Tail Classics) Paperback – June 28, 2011
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Well Michel Houelebecq doesn't look too dangerous and his ideas are either a posture of pessimistic contempt or the work of a dangerous lunatic, probably both. Still EDDDLL is before all a great novel. If you're into the subversive discourse of the author on the loathsome nature of sexual freedom and the need to overcome it you should read its 2nd novel (and last years'tremendous best seller in France): les particules elementaires.
PS: a film adaptation of EDDDLL has just been releised in France.
So much for the book itself. I'm sure it merits a good five stars, but the translation is absolutely abhorent. At first glance, it's just the occasional creeping British argot, but you realize that the sentences are choppy, and that the argot is there just for its own sake. It is translated into nobody's vernacular. Hammond's rendition into a limp British slang is quite comical, especially since Houellebecq has been militating against Americanization (or at least you can feel that undertone) which the translator really undermines.
I wonder what Houellebecq would say about Oprah and North American society's reading habits. (It is ironic in many ways to learn that Oprah has inspired many pseudo-memoirs - from 'A Million Little Pieces' to the recent holocaust 'memoir'. Victim of her own fame, I assume.)
'Whatever' begins with a series of short chapters. It is jolting at first, very superficial. The narrator is going to teach civil servants the use of a new computer system. What happens eventually is that he 'befriends' his colleague, a rather unattractive man in his late twenties, still a virgin, hopeless with women.
It took me about fifty pages to finally feel engaged with this novel. Whereas 'Platform' and 'The Elementary Particles' (highly recommended) had me from the first page, 'Whatever' took some time. After page 50, I began to see the emotional and psychological debacle going on in the narrator's life. The tone is set in the earlier stages of the book but the real emotional struggle begins mid-way through. The narrator is an atheist, a struggling individual. His pain is our pain, it's just that maybe we live life with more distractions.
Houellebecq is the most modern and competent literary author of our time.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Generally, in my humble view, one should read whatever Houellebecq produces. This one starts him off in fiction with observations on a bureaucratic death. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Glen Brumby
So far, so good. Its decent. This guy's (the guy whom wrote it)... he's ok. We'd probably hang out, if we went to the same school and knew the same language. Read morePublished 9 months ago by David Jones
Impeccable portrait of depressive anxiety or Something or Other. Maybe from living with cats. Getting that weird microbe in your brain cells that causes this type of perspective... Read morePublished 10 months ago by David LaCombe
I started reading this book a few years ago, and stopped around page 50. Recently, while scanning my bookshelf, I picked it up again-- I immediately remembered why I put it down in... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Nathan Naimark
"Whatever" is a philospohical and political novel. The original French title which can be translated as "Extension of the Domain of Struggle" is a good... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Barbara Pelc
Not as good as his other books "Elementary Particles," etc. Tru that one instead. Might come back to read at some point.Published on October 3, 2013 by MollyRDH
This is Houellebecq's first novel, which brought him to fame in France, then later in Britain and the US. Read morePublished on September 1, 2013 by J. Wagner
Life is boring, depressing and funny, no matter how you see it.
Whatever is as perfect a summation of this fact as can be imagined.