Michel Houellebecq is a French novelist, poet, and literary critic. His novels include the international bestseller The Elementary Particles and The Map and the Territory, which won the 2010 Prix Goncourt. He lives in France.
Michel Houellebecq currently resides in Paris.
Michel Houellebecq has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Les Particules Elementaires?
What makes the world go round Mar 3, 2006
If one is asked in one word what makes the world go round, after reading Michel Houellebecq's "The Elementary Particles", the answer is sex. Actually, sex is everywhere. Most people simple don't notice it because they are blind -- or something like it. After reading this strange --albeit good -- novel, it is impossible not to star wondering about what people do in order to have carnal pleasure. And this is not a bad thing -- most of the time.
By telling the intertwined story of two brothers in France through some decades, the French writer went deep into the compartment of the human soul that keeps the sexual desire. Michel and Bruno share the same mother and the feeling that their lives are a bore. The first one is a famous biological researcher that has quitted his job and wants to do something with his life -- whatever it means. His brother is a professor in his early 40's and with a felling that his life is approaching to death, therefore he wants to live intensely.
"The Elementary Particles" follows the adventures -- many of the sexual -- beginning in their childhoods until this period of their lives when they are living through the motions. In both lives a woman will emerge as an important character -- after their mother. She is Annabelle. Michel met her when they were still kids, and since them they have approached and fallen apart form each other. Bruno, on the other hand, is not interested in love, until the day he meets a strange woman in a swimming pool.
Houellebcq is one of the most famous names of French contemporary literature. That doesn't mean he is good -- but, actually, he is good indeed. His prose is light and, at the same time, deep. His explicit narrative, detailing sexual rendezvous, is not gratuitous. It seems that in this world, sex tries to replace love -- and it works sometimes, until the moment that his characters notice that they need more than an orgasm.
In "The Elementary Particles", the writer exploits what has became of the generation that preached free love in the late 60s. Now, the flower power has been replaced new age mumbo-jumbo, including workshops, music and all sort of mystical crap. However the last chapters of the book take a strange detour, exploiting the power of science. In this fashion, Houellebecq goes very close to Adouls Huxley -- one of the writers he admits influenced his work. The epilogue seems to belong to another book. But, as soon as one finishes reading this novel, and starts thinking about it, any reader can realize that the ending makes total sense. Beautifully deceitful.