Michel Houellebecq


writers should go back to the streets

>>By veins   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

I've just finished Les Particules Elementaires. He's wrong. The way he formulates the problem is more of a sympthom than a diagnosis. I see his scientific hints are thought of as 'anchors' to his theory. For me, the mistaken way in which he uses scientific notions and theories is more like a proof of that we're dealing with a neuro-paranoid fiction, rather than an explanation of today's human misery. This doesn't mean that he doesn't talk about existing problems, but that his understanding of these follows the path of the problems themselves. Leaving aside evolutionist and lacanian theories, let's create a brave new post-human world, where the secret relation between sex and death wolud be removed by an alchimystic operation with clones - come on! At least don't reproduce so clearly sympthoms described by theories you throw away.

>>By milyo   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

I read The Elementary Particles in 2001. As I was reading the text, what grabbed my attention, was the
raw honesty of the author. I noted the way he lingered on dark images. He spoke his mind freely about topics that most people would think, but never verbalize. I admire this quality in a person. I think that people who possess this quality are definately the people that speak for their generation. These are the voices and written words that will survive after us. Michel Houellebecq is a voice that should be heard.

>>By Francophile   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

I would, in short, like to respond to 'milyo'.

He is not wrong, milyo that is, but he is far to sloopy when it comes to use this well known turn: "The way he(Houellebecq) formulates the problem is more of a sympthom than a diagnosis". I think that there is no hidden agenda in Houellebecq's opus that warrants that kind of pseudophilosophic comment.
I believe that the diffuculty in Houellebecq's great work is of another sort. How is it possible, and in my eyes desireble, to think the posthuman condition without the alibi of evolution theory?

>>By swedboy   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:58)

Reading Houellebecq, incredibly, isn't disheartening. That's not necessarily because he tells the 'truth' about things, but because he brings into light a part of us that detests the more soul-destroying elements of Western culture, and also a part of us that hates ourselves for being subscribers to that culture - that part of us that whenever we see a GAP christmas advert wants to say 'Bullshit. Pure Fucking Bullshit.' before going into the place to buy a pair of khakis. Novelist as wish-fulfiller: Freud would cream his pants over that. As for the science theory in Atomised: it's probably best read as a necessary endnote to the metaphor that unifies the book - seeing as the actual science in the book is sketchy to say the least - as well as more wish-fulfillment. Hoellebecq's a great author; probably the best writing today. Let's hope he doesn't stop.

>>By Albert Camus   (Thursday, 6 Mar 2003 19:15)

Finally, we have someone worth reading.

>>By Kitkol   (Monday, 7 Apr 2003 02:19)

Enjoyed reading him. Really acute observations on the human condition, society and life.
Given the artificial boundaries between science and other disciplines it is unhelpful to blame and author for misusing science, after all that begs the question "what is a proper use of science".

I would call his work true, if giving it that kind of tag was not next to meaningless. For me at least his observations concerning human sexuality, and our cultural obsession with aging were right on the mark. Thomas Mann made a similar kind of point in his "death in Venice".

But, what I like most in his work is a kind of dark humour. Despite all the cynical descriptions of life and growing old, he manages to find a kind of satisfaction in the whole process. It is cynicism, but of the kind that Peter Soljik praises in his "critique of cynical reason". Its a kind of postive cyncism, hence its humour.

It reminds me of the comedy of people like Chris Rock, and other top notch comedy acts.


>>By Jacob   (Tuesday, 6 May 2003 12:33)

Brilliant author with a vivid insight into human pathos. His critique of the illusive limits to being in the world remind one that life is a fragile and fleating encounter with an unknown and unknowable other. On the surface it may seem he is indulging in pure fantasy but beneath the surface between the lines he exposes the injustices that life entrap beings in a world chained to unreason. He unmasks delusions, illusions, fears refsuing to be silenced.

>>By Patricia   (Friday, 4 Jul 2003 10:07)

Elementary Particles is the most important book in last 10 years. Similiar to Von Trier's Dogville in films.
Definition of humanism of our time.

>>By Dalibor   (Sunday, 21 Mar 2004 22:05)

Enjoying Elementary Particles a whole lot. Almost finished the book. It is, after all, possible to write an 'old-fashioned' post-postmod novel which is fun to read. I wonder if Platform is equally stimulating.

>>By OnceAgain   (Monday, 22 Mar 2004 00:00)

Houellebecq is a fantastically, disgustingly enjoyable read. A quick way to avoid plenty of the cosmetic use of science in Atomised is to read The Possibility of an Island. In that book, he colourfully goes into the scientific implications of modern cultural rights and wrongs. Everything that he says should be taken with a pinch of salt though - he's just meant to be a wicked read and, as Swedboy points out, Houellebecq has no hidden agenda.

I think that Whatever is his greatest work though. It's such a filthy and hilarious condemnation of humanity, pointing out the crises, pains and melancholic undertones that pervade our world with apathy and style. A really, really great read.

Its interesting that somebody called "Albert Camus" has also commented on this author as I used Houellebecq and Camus for my university dissertation discussing literary approaches to hate.

>>By mathu   (Friday, 23 Jan 2009 22:56)

I'm obviously missing something, what a lot *******

>>By Caz   (Saturday, 24 Jan 2009 07:47)

The discussion board is currently closed.