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Ausweitung der Kampfzone by Michel…

Ausweitung der Kampfzone (original 1994; edition 2000)

by Michel Houellebecq

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1,797275,984 (3.44)20
Title:Ausweitung der Kampfzone
Authors:Michel Houellebecq
Info:Rowohlt Tb. (2000), Paperback, 169 Seiten
Collections:Your library
Tags:französische literatur, französischsprachige literatur, melancholie, hass, menschenhass, informatik

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Whatever by Michel Houellebecq (1994)


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English (17)  French (4)  Italian (3)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Definitely his worst book. Lacks the pointed insight and humor of his later books, just the vile sexism and cynicism. While I respond to his other work with lots of reservations, this one isn't worth picking up. ( )
  triphopera | Apr 14, 2018 |
I would call this a modern existentialist novel. The unnamed narrator in this novel is a computer programmer in Paris in the mid-nineties. He is relatively well off and has a decent job, but he is dissatisfied with pretty much everything in life and is alienated from all of the other people he encounters. He assumes that everyone else in the world must feel the same way he does due to the increasingly competitive nature of a capitalist society in which some people get everything they want and others get nothing. To sum up the narrator’s attitude: “I’ve lived so little that I tend to imagine I’m not going to die; it seems improbable that human existence can be reduced to so little; one imagines, in spite of oneself, that sooner or later something is bound to happen. A big mistake. A life can just as well be both empty and short.”

It was difficult to rate this book because I felt completely apathetic about it. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t dislike it either. It helped that the book was short; if it had been long it would have gotten quite tedious. It felt like an interesting experiment in literature and I see what the author wanted to do, but meh. The title, which is nothing like the original French title, is very apt since my thoughts on the book basically amount to “whatever.”

I do have to give Houellebecq credit for this quote which I think a lot of us here can relate to: “An entire life spent reading would have fulfilled my every desire.” ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
204) Whatever Michel Houellebecq

According to the blurb and the 1001 Books to Read Before you Die list this book provided the "catalyst for a disaffected and caustic group of young French writers who have been hailed at the most exciting literary phenomenon since the nouveua roman" for me this just appears to be an excuse for vulgar writing.

The book does not have a cohesive plot, it is told entirely from the point of view of a 30 something year old man who happens to work with computers, who is a bit of a loner and who is obviously headed for a break down (something the 1001 people appear to enjoy is first person break downs)

While there are some funny quotes in the book "the tale was usually told with a slight ironic smile; yet there was nothing to laugh about; these days the purchase of a bed does present enormous difficulties, enough to drive you to suicide" (having just bought new TV I can appreciate this sentiment) I found it to be largely distasteful particulary in the descriptions of women and sex.

I guess I am not young enough, disaffected enough or caustic enough to appreciate this, that said with no idea of the French literary scene I will have to accept that it deserves its place on the list for inspiring a whole new generation of writers (heres hoping I never have to read them)
( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
This isn't a bad book, it just isn't for me at this time. I really don't need a book that leaves me more depressed than when I began it. ( )
  mlbelize | Jan 27, 2014 |
The title fits the theme of the story perfectly. The narrator suffers from manic depression, and in turn has a completely apathetic and cynical world view. This was my first Houellebecq novel, so I won't be too quick to judge his storytelling capabilities. He has done a great job capturing the mindset and internal dialogue of a depressed man. The narrator depicts women in an obvious objectified male-gaze, and even reveals tendencies of racism. But such is the behavior of a man who undergoes daily bouts of incessant negativity. I did not like the narrator, and disagreed with everything he said and believed, but in order to truly simulate manic depression, Houellebecq had to delve so deep into pessimism that a glimmer of hope would surely be absurd. ( )
  Willstoc | Jun 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Houellebecq, Michelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Haan, Martin deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haan, Martin deAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keynäs, VilleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Friday evening I was invited to a party at a colleague from work's house.
Vendredi soir j'étais invité à une soirée chez un collègue de travail. On était une bonne trentaine, rien que des cadres moyens âgés de vingt-cinq à quarante ans. A un moment donné, il y a une connasse qui a commencé à se déshabiller. Elle a ôté son T-shirt, puis son soutien-gorge, puis sa jupe, tout ça en faisant des mines incroyables. Elle a encore tournoyé en petite culotte pendant quelques secondes, et puis elle a commencé à se resaper ne voyant plus quoi faire d'autre. D'ailleurs c'est une fille qui ne couche avec personne. Ce qui souligne bien l'absurdité de son comportement. 
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Just thirty, with a well-paid job, depression and no love life, the narrator and anti-hero par excellence of this grim, funny and clever novel smokes four packs of cigarettes a day and writes weird animal stories in his spare time. A computer programmer by day, he is tolerably content, until, that is, he's packed off with a colleague - the unimaginably ugly, sexually-frustrated virgin Raphael Tisserand - to train provincial civil servants in the use of a new computer system... A painfully realistic portrayal of the vanishing freedom of a world governed by science and by the empty rituals of daily life.

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