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Elementaire deeltjes roman by Michel…

Elementaire deeltjes roman (original 1998; edition 1999)

by Michel Houellebecq

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3,877551,328 (3.6)105
Title:Elementaire deeltjes roman
Authors:Michel Houellebecq
Info:Amsterdam De Arbeiderspers cop. 1999
Collections:Your library

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The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq (1998)


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» See also 105 mentions

English (41)  French (5)  Dutch (4)  Italian (2)  Spanish (2)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (55)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
A book a good many of us formerly or presently pious folk may feel a little guilty reading (oh, its more than a little risque). It reads as a speculative account of the conclusion of our ontology (our 'elementary particles') and what may come after it. ( )
  DavidCLDriedger | Apr 22, 2015 |
Hugely ambitious, entertaining, squalid, dyspeptic, full of dour theatrics and grandiose hooey--I really enjoyed it. ( )
  AThurman | Dec 7, 2014 |
I am unsure what I think about this book and finding it quite hard to write a precis. It's basically about 2 half brothers who lead rather different lives. Bruno is fairly unpleasant, sex obsessed, constantly masturbating, generally a bit grubby. Michel is a talented scientist who doesn't really communicate well with other people. It can be pretty graphic (both sex and violence), but on the other hand there is a lot of philosophy (usually presented as long clunky dialogues). It's also quite funny and thought provoking in parts. For most of the time I was reading it I had completely forgotten about the prologue, but on reaching the epilogue I was reminded this is in fact a kind of science fiction book about the evolution of the human race. It was 2 months ago I finished it, and I'm still kind of confused by what I read and what I thought about it. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Nov 22, 2014 |
Not sure I've ever seen quite such division of opinion among my GR friends, so many 1s and 5s in equal measure - and several 3s - as over Michel Houellebecq. Can't see myself finishing a proper review soon, as there is just so much to this book (another one which I first got more than ten years ago), so much to think about. But it's a different, more complex beast from what its reputation had led me to believe - that reputation which essentially equates the whole book with the character Bruno - a Martin Amis character taken seriously (the sort of Amis character who, to quote a GR friend, reads like a literary adaptation of a Viz strip) - and neglects all the other interesting stuff in the novel and the ideas which contradict him. They never told me it was kind of SF either. ( )
  antonomasia | Jul 27, 2014 |
Michel Houellebecq's "The Elementary Particles" is a sci-fi tale turned inside-out. The bulk of the text tells the story of two step-brothers who share a mother and how their experiences with love, sex, and emotional pain lead towards an evolutionary leap for humanity. But the leap isn't the heart of the story; the heart of the story is the loneliness and emotional pain that accompanies love and loss.

There's a slim story written far in the future by the evolved race which wraps the main story. The wrapper story claims that the main story is the creation myth for the evolved race and that while it was written from source material, much of it may not be factual. I felt that this explanation helped redeem the monstrous aspects of some of the scenes in the main story. Maybe the characters aren't as flawed as the story makes them out to be, but because the evolved race portray themselves as gods made by inferiors, they had to exaggerate the flaws.

From the point of view of the wrapper story, I really enjoyed the idea that the creation myth was flipped on its head to be written from the point of view of gods created by imperfect beings. I also enjoyed that the standard sci-fi story was flipped on its head and told as relating what happened in the past instead of the future. Finally, I really liked how the mention of inaccuracies in the main text linked to the Biblical commentary within the text, and raised questions about the truth of the main story.

All in all I'd highly recommend this book, as long as you have a stomach for graphic sexual content and violence. ( )
1 vote sbloom42 | May 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Houellebecq, Michelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Haan, Martin deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keynäs, VilleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wynne, FrankTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is principally the story of a man who lived out the greater part of his life in Western Europe, in the latter half of the twentieth century.
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Published in UK as Atomised, Published in US as The Elementary Particles
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099283360, Paperback)

Half-brothers Michel and Bruno have a mother in common but little else. Michel is a molecular biologist, a thinker and idealist, a man with no erotic life to speak of and little in the way of human society. Bruno, by contrast, is a libertine, though more in theory than in practice, his endless lust is all too rarely reciprocated. Both are symptomatic members of our atomised society, where religion has given way to shallow 'new age' philosophies and love to meaningless sexual connections. Atomised (Les Particules elementaires) tells the stories of the two brothers, but the real subject of the novel is the dismantling of contemporary society and its assumptions, its political incorrectness, and its caustic and penetrating asides on everything from anthropology to the problem pages of girls' magazines. A dissection of modern lives and loves. By turns funny, acid, infuriating, didactic, touching and visceral.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:13 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Follows the lives and fortunes of Bruno and Marcel, born to a bohemian mother during the 1960s, who are brought up separately and pursue their own individual paths-as Bruno battles madness and sexual obsession and Michel, a molecular biologist, comes up with a unique way to express his disgust with the violence of humankind.… (more)

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