It’s not quite Houellebecq Lite, but it’s the least likely to offend. Em ”As Partículas Elementares” (), o seu segundo romance, Michel H Em li dois. Las particulas elementales by Michel Houellebecq, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. Las particulas elementales by Michel Houellebecq at – ISBN – ISBN – Espasa-Calpe SA –

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Goodreads helps partjculas keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq. An international literary phenomenon, The Elementary Particles is a frighteningly original novel—part Marguerite Duras and part Bret Easton Ellis-that leaps headlong into the malaise of contemporary existence.

Bruno and Michel are half-brothers abandoned houelldbecq their mother, an unabashed devotee of the drugged-out free-love world of the sixties. Bruno, the older brother, has be An international literary phenomenon, The Elementary Particles is particulxs frighteningly original novel—part Marguerite Duras and part Bret Easton Ellis-that leaps headlong into the malaise of contemporary existence.

Bruno, the older brother, has become a raucously promiscuous hedonist himself, while Michel is an emotionally dead molecular biologist wholly immersed in the solitude of his work. Each is ultimately offered a final chance at genuine love, and what unfolds is a brilliantly caustic and unpredictable tale. Elementsles from the French by Frank Wynne. Paperbackpages. Published November 13th by Vintage first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about The Elementary Particlesplease sign up. Can someone kindly make a recommend which of his novels I might want to read first?

I would like read the book in English and then in French as well learning French at the moment. David I second The Map and the Territory. It’s not quite Houellebecq Lite, but houellebeq the least likely to offend. If offend eelmentales what you want head straight for …more I second The Map and the Territory. See 1 question about The Elementary Particles…. Lists with This Book. You can interpret this book in several different ways. A lot of people view it as a depressing, hate-filled rant, filled with a really startling amount of unpleasant sex.

I’m not elementalrs that that’s necessarily incorrect. In fact, my immediate association was with the fictitious books that Moreland invents in one of the Anthony Powell novels: But I think there are more interesting ways of reading Les Par You can interpret this houelpebecq in several different ways.

But I think there are more hojellebecq ways of reading Houuellebecq Particuleswhich show that it’s not houeklebecq pointless as it first appears. So, after considering it a while, I’d houellebevq that this is basically a book about sexual frustration. Bruno, the elrmentales character, has an extremely active libido, but is unfortunately not at all attractive; he’s fat, ugly and lacks charm.

He spends his days in a constant agony of unfulfilled desire. I recently read Hamsun’s Hunger ; the poor guy in Hamsun is broke and hungry, and no matter what he tries to think about he always comes back to money and food within a few minutes. Hamsun’s very brave about showing how degrading this is for him. Bruno’s plight is similar. He’s not getting any sex, and that’s all HE can think about. And in fact it’s not unreasonable to argue that Houellebecq is being brave too in describing just how humiliating that is for him.


The author could put it in general terms, or he could indirectly suggest it, but a detailed description of how Bruno masturbates over his algebra notes while watching girls on the train drives it home far more effectively: La fille poursuivait la lecture de son magazine. Partivulas why does Bruno laas this terrible, and what does it say about our society? Houellebecq has some interesting observations about how free-market economics have entered into people’s personal lives; having also read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine in the near past, this resonated rather well.

In the sexual sphere, the corresponding long-term result is a world where no one really wants to fuck anybody except Scarlett Johansson or Megan Fox depending on whether they prefer blondes or brunettesand will not even consider fucking anyone who isn’t young and thin. Bruno exemplifies this horrible state of being; thwarted sexual desire has turned his life into a living hell, and Houellebecq is psychologically credible in showing how it progressively destroys him, making him hate everyone and everything.

One interesting angle is that the book contrasts the materialistic world-view that has him in its jaws against the traditional Christian world-view. It’s probably not an accident that, when Bruno does in the end meet a woman who truly loves him, she’s called Christiane.

Here’s another example of how the graphic descriptions of sex are not as gratuitous as they first appear.

Las particulas elementales : Michel Houellebecq :

Bruno has just spent a very happy week with Christiane, but must leave: Il promit de venir. In a Brigade Mondaine novel, this would just be pornographic. Here, it comes across as a rather moving scene. I felt very sorry for poor Christiane; it was already clear that things couldn’t possibly work out well.

The part of the novel I found least engaging was the thread that followed Michel, Bruno’s half-brother. Instead of experiencing life as one long torment of desire, Michel hardly feels desire at all. He becomes a biophysicist, and eventually finds a way to create an immortal race of asexual beings, which duly replace humanity. I wasn’t very convinced by any of this, partly because Houellebecq seems to be unaware that biologists have spent a lot of time wondering about why it is that sexual reproduction is a good idea.

It’s an interesting story, and deserves to be treated with more respect. I don’t think, however, that we need to discuss whether Michel’s idea makes scientific sense; I don’t believe Houellbecq is seriously saying that we should find a way to evolve away from sex, any more than Brecht in The Tutor is seriously suggesting autocastration as a solution.

He’s just saying that the pain that sex and love cause people is such that you’re willing to consider an extreme solution in order to escape from it. Unfortunately, Houellebecq has loaded up with scientific buzzwords, but doesn’t seem to have any deep understanding, and I found the quantum mechanics much more irritating than the pornography. For example, I suppose that all the references to the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen gedankenexperiment are intended to suggest that Bruno and Michel are inextricably bound together, quantum-entangled in fact; their mother is the source, Bruno and Michel are the two electrons.

Which is a reasonable criticism of the whole book in fact.

I suppose I agree. Though I’m also warning you that it could significantly advance the date of your demise. View all 37 comments. View all 23 comments. Aug 21, Greg rated it really liked it Shelves: At first I thought maybe it’s was just some good old fashioned misogyny, with maybe a little bit of nationalism and Arab hating thrown in, but then something curious happened, the whole of lad got thrown into the hate-fest that is this book.


Hate them a lot. Yep, really hate them, we don’t say why we just do. Love it but hate “It’s a curious idea to reproduce when you don’t even like life.

Love it but hate it. Oh really fuck those guys, especially Deleuze, but make it clear we don’t like any of those guys from the 60’s.

Masterbation fodder, or else just more fucking people. People lying to themselves that they aren’t old? Hate them so much too. Hate hate hate hate hate.

If only there were more people like me in the world, a race of me’s!! And I’ll call them super-men!!! One were the ethics are based on total shit as an imperative. Paeticulas through all of this hate and the depressing feelings of the total waste of life we all are, and the simple fact that no one is going to be happy, it will elude us and the desire for happiness will only make us miserable; this book ends up being particklas interesting, and enjoyable read.

View all 12 comments. What an incredible book. The Epilogue makes a huge difference in how elementxles might view it on the whole. It certainly elementalles for me. But I took a deep breath and I switched up my reading soundtrack and I pushed on and am very glad that I did. The Epilogue really clarifies so much that precedes it.

The Elementary Particles

To say this book is just about sexual frustration is to hugely miss the point. This is a BIG PICTURE book but carried out through a tightly crafted narrative mainly surrounding two brothers birthed from a massively disfunctional genetic pool with one shared parent: The book covers so many subjects that I’m sort of dumbfounded and slow to begin relaying them all. Existential, cultural, scientific, philosophical, historical, etc. Consciousness, genetics, sex, death, physics, religion, cruelty, love, parenthood, childhood, adulthood, happiness, suffering, etc.

Despite the often searing and pitiless slings and arrows thrown at humanity, I think it is also a book that is deeply sympathetic to the desperate flailing, the absurd flaws, and the open wounds of humanity, self-inflicted and otherwise. Its final sentence is a straight up dedication to humankind, despite its many detailed failures and sufferings and defects, and despite the claim that a new and improved species must take its place.

I was holding a solid four star rating of this in my head until the final leg of the journey, around Section Three and the Epilogue. So if any readers who take my opinions as any sort of guide end up having trouble with it along the way, I implore them to press on.

View all 40 comments. May 14, sarah rated it it was amazing.