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Las partículas elementales

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  15,259 ratings  ·  960 reviews
Una visión feroz y sarcástica del presente a través de dos hermanastros cuarentones, Michel, un investigador en biología que vive como un monje, ha renunciado al sexo y sólo pasea para ir al supermercado, y Bruno, profesor de literatura, consumidor de pornografía, misógino, racista y virtuoso del resentimiento. Una novela demoledora sobre una generación derrotada de la man ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published October 2002 by Anagrama (first published January 1st 1986)
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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 saying 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: "Seated One Day at my Organ", by the author of "One Hundred Disagreeable Sexual Experiences". But I think there are more interesting ways of reading Les Par ...more
"It's a curious idea to reproduce when you don't even like life."

It's rare to come across a book filled with so pure of hate. 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 society got thrown into the hate-fest that is this book. Hippies? Hate them a lot. Italians? Yep, really hate them, we don't say why we just do. Nature? Fuck it!! Sex? Love it but hate
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Feb 16, 2013 Joshua Nomen-Mutatio rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joshua Nomen-Mutatio by: brian
Shelves: fiction
Wow. What an incredible book. The Epilogue makes a huge difference in how one might view it on the whole. It certainly did for me. I was getting so depressed by the end that I almost chucked it aside around the 90% mark because I felt a panic attack coming on. 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. Leading up to that point it is basically 100% bleak, and I mean truly, tr ...more
Okay, I decided I would take a go at actually justifying my rating for this book, rather than just make half-hearted apologies at my preference for a so-absurdly misogynistic and, let's be frank, pornographic novel.

First of all, I like Houellebecq's unrelenting pessimism. It's far beyond nihlism - so more destructive and negative, so more emphatic in its rejection of bougeoise norms, of religion, culture, capitalism. This book (as well as the other Houellebecq I read, Platform) captures the ble
Years ago, I went out on a few dates with a French guy. He was rich and good looking (though, of course, way too short), and he seemed pretty smart but I never could bring myself to kiss him. He had this typically Gallic extreme snottiness that I found amusing, even endearing, but even as I enjoyed this I suspected that his disdain for everything non-French might indicate something a bit too dark for me. At a certain point I decided that he wasn't a regular charming misanthrope: I discerned that ...more
Lorenzo Berardi
This book brought me to laughter. And this is not a compliment, but actually quite the opposite.
Every character here is monodimensional and unrealistic, while the story itself is ridicolous.

Blame me if you like, but after the tenth masturbation scene filled up with philosophical rubbish and Andre Gide quotes I've felt a big nausea coming up. And this malaise stayed with me till the end of the novel.

There are many novelists who have their own obsession for sex and some of them are consistently
I wish I was able to write a more detailed reaction to this novel, but I feel nothing. Not in the sense of 'poetic existential despair' nothing, but total non-commitment.

These cynical rants against humanity are really all the same, aren't they? Occasionally you find one with at least some stylistic flair and originality, like Céline's, but here I see failed edgy attempts to shock with bad sex, loneliness, and a touch of misogyny.

So fucking what? I'd go read Reddit comments if I wanted to read t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amrit Chima
Gratuitous sex. For those who have read this book, it’s not a surprising initial comment. The sex in The Elementary Particles is graphic, drawn-out, and explicit. Yet the novel has such an intellectual draw that even at its most seemingly uncalled for, I believe Houellebecq had a purpose for it. Through the suffering of two brothers—Bruno whose libido is painfully (and often shamefully) intense, and Michel who has virtually no interest in sex—Houellebecq depicts mankind’s struggle with materiali ...more
Oh God. I'm about half way through this book, which I picked up on a whim after finishing the excellent Blindness by Jose Saramago. I needed something else to read until I got a copy of Dave Eggers' What is the What, and this had got a lot of raves.

So far, I'm as close to tossing this book away unfinished as I have ever been. I almost always finish books, but this is just a chore.

As offensive as parts of it are (yes, yes, I'm supposed to be offended, and I can see the ambiguity about whether the
Milica Chotra
The universe is merely a chance arrangement of elementary particles. A transitory image in the midst of chaos. Which will end with the inevitable: the human race will disappear. Other races will appear, and disappear in turn. The heavens are cold and empty, traversed by the faint light of half-dead stars. Which, also, will disappear. Everything disappears. And human actions are just as random and senseless as the movements of elementary particles. Good, evil, morality, fine sentiments? Pure “Vic ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
This is the second Houellebecq novel that I have read. Usually when I talk about why I like novels it usually has to do with the great characters that I identified with or the amazing plot or the entertaining action. Houellebecq provides none of these things. In fact, while I was reading this book, my daughter asked me what the book was about and I went uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

His characters are unhappy and disfunctional. Houellebecq's books create controversy to the point that he has ended up in cou
Damn! I've had this for years, only read it recently, wished I'd read it long ago. Totally brilliant. Purposefully vicious and perverted to make philosophical points about the unhappy state of humanity. Juxtaposition of many sagging labias and licked cocks (which sadly might turn idiots off) with mucho genetics-related philosophizing (which sadly might turn idiots off). A book about the achievement of utopia, sort of like Huxley's BNW and Island, which the book deals with. Another uber-pessimist ...more
Paul Bryant
A lot of this book consists of a tirade of hatred against the author's dear mama. Now finally, the 83 year old hippy herself has emerged from her retreat with all guns blazing. Hilarious article about the whole rancid argument here

Sample quote

"If it hadn't been my son, I wouldn't read that kind of crap, I would put it down straight away, because if there's one thing I detest in the world it's pornography. That book is pure pornography, it's repugnant, it's
MJ Nicholls
The longueur of French academic life. The pain of being 40 and unfuckable. Something about quantum physics. It's all here in this eggheady gloom festival.
Marcello S
Quanta roba: l’amore, la solitudine, il post 68, il consumismo, il crollo della società occidentale, le pratiche new age, la biologia molecolare, la genetica (trattate, queste ultime, col piglio del ricercatore). E poi sesso, sesso, sesso.

Houellebecq mi pare uno che non si accontenta, che cerca la perfezione. Che si gioca tutto senza mollare mai il tiro. Alla fine risulta più volte eccessivo, ridondante, ripetitivo, ma si porta a casa diversi strike.

Questo romanzo è colmo di una tristezza ineso
Come voce che grida nel deserto

Si esce dalla lettura di questo libro annichiliti, non c'è speranza di felicità o senso nella vita dell'uomo che ha avuto la ventura di vivere nella società materialista. Nietzsche ha ucciso ogni umana pietà, la Chiesa ha perso la sua sacralità e con essa la forza del messaggio morale del cristianesimo, il sessantotto e la liberazione sessuale hanno svincolato il sesso dall'amore, ucciso l'amore paternale e disintegrato la famiglia, hanno ucciso ogni possibilità di
Both oddly engrossing and somehow also barely readable, Elementary Particles, like all of Houllebecq's narcissistic novels, focuses its aim on men solely obsessed with getting their aged and increasingly flaccid penises erect long enough to fulfill the characters' unending pedophiliac whims. This one is worse than The Possibility of an Island, which at least gave readers a few sci-fi reasons for the dystopian world. In the end, nearly both books arrive at the same end: humanity is doomed, filled ...more
Libros Prohibidos
Libro a evitar, tan petulante como desagradable, y que quedó perfectamente descrito por el escritor y filósofo Jesús Zamora: PORNO PEDANTE. Así es.
Reseña completa:
An unconventional, provocative book that seduced me into the heart of the most pessimistic social and philosophical conclusions regarding the collapse of the individual as well as the whole society in the face of failed values. Houellebecq puts the most outrageous words in the mouth of his characters, two brothers. They complain or comment about aging and body decay, lack of communication and cruelty of men. They also discuss wisdom, science and religion. One brother goes to extremes with his se ...more
rachel  misfiticus
something was very compelling about this book. Despite the rampant misogyny, the blatant racism, and the long camp/club sex scenes that lead no where, I couldn't stop reading. It was like watching clown porn.
Another author in that very French intellectual tradition which seems to confuse being cynical with being profound. The basic thesis is that humans are risible and worthy of our hatred, and that interpersonal relationships are a despicable delusion. Some of this is illustrated with neatly-done set pieces, other parts are more didactic. The novel shows a consistent disgust for human bodies and sexuality which I thought rather juvenile.

There are some moments of wit, but in general the prose style
George Georgiadis
Περίεργο μυθιστόρημα. Εκτενείς και επαναλαμβανόμενες σεξουαλικές περιγραφές που αντικατοπτρίζουν τα συναισθηματικά αδιέξοδα του σύγχρονου ατόμου, υπαρξιακοί\φιλοσοφικοί και επιστημονικοί προβληματισμοί και στοχασμοί με επίκεντρο τον άνθρωπο. Σχεδόν κατάθλιψη στο τέλος.
In poco più di 300 pagine (con corpo tipografico "largo") la storia di tre generazioni, l'apice ed il declino del nostro occidente attraverso le vicende di due fratellastri.

Non si sa se prendersela con Houellebecq per non aver sviluppato tutto il ben di dio di spunti, situazioni e personaggi interessanti che ha messo in campo oppure essergliene grati per averci risparmiato chilometriche digressioni e sotto - trame con il connesso rischio - pippone.

Comunque un libro sconcertante ed appassionante
This is a thoroughly distasteful book, most unpleasant. I can't remember now why it was hyped back in 2003 when I read it; one can only wonder why. (This review is taken from my journal notes at the time).
It's supposed to be the story of two brothers, one a sex-crazed boor and the other a molecular biologist, thinker and idealist. So it said on the blurb, but I got so bored by the ramblings about atoms and DNA that I skipped most of those bits.
Which left me to read the pornographic descriptions
Kaloyana Slavova
Ммм, да... почти 400 страници за почти два дни. Не можах да я оставя!

Първо да кажа, че тук има толкова много секс, извращения, страст, задоволяване на плътски щения и нагони, толкова подробно и прецизно описани сцени, че по едно време стигам до един цитат от Пруст и вместо "простотата", аз чета "простатата" :) И си викам, какво стана тука, бре? И Пруст ли? :)
Но дотук с веселбата.

Страхотно се изкефих на тази книга. Мишел Уелбек прави дисекция с думи. И то много успешно. Реже до кокал, без упойка
May 22, 2007 James rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Post-humanists, cynics, sex-fiends
I'm tired of being human; I wanna be post-human. A start with an aside: an old professor once described his experience of being asked to defend Naked Lunch during its trial in Britain against charges of pornography. My professor declined to defend the book not because he deemed it pornographic, but because it already had enough defenders of a status high enough to insure that it didn't get banned and because he wasn't sure, at that early age in his career, whether or not he wanted his name attac ...more
This book may well turn out to be one of those I look back on a few years from now and think "I really gave that five stars?" By all rights, I should hate this book. The characters are depressed, depraved, racist, chauvinistic, and at some points pretty much wallowing in moral filth. The perspective on life is unremittingly bleak and pessimistic (à la 1984); pretty much nobody gets a happy ending.

All that said: I loved this book. I thought the frame story was interesting and well-handled, with i
Jerry Ghazali
Mengutip kata-kata Auguste Comte, "tujuan utama sebuah agama ialah untuk membawa kemanusian itu ke dalam satu bentuk kesatuan yang sempurna". Namun begitu, setiap kesatuan itu perlulah ada nilai. Nilai sesebuah kesatuan yang membentuk agama itu sendiri pula bergantung kepada kualiti sistem moral yang diterap ke dalamnya.

Bilamana manusia sudah menemukan bukti secara matematik dan kaedah eksperimental yang menjadi ekspresi tertinggi dalam aspek kesedaran manusia, agama mula dipersoalkan dari sudut
Sometimes, when I was reading the Elementary Particles I felt like I was dancing around a bonfire, saluting the incumbent destruction of humanity.

Houellebecq's writing is like a telephoto lens, constantly zooming in on microscopic details (a childhood memory, the feeling of sand on bare skin, lurid-to-the-point-of-being-clinical sexual detail) and then zooming out to large-scale portrayals of modern life and how much everyone sucks. It reminded me at points of Louis-Ferdinand Céline (nihilism),
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Michel Houellebecq (born Michel Thomas), born 26 February 1958 (birth certificate) or 1956 on the French island of Réunion, is a controversial and award-winning French novelist. To admirers he is a writer in the tradition of literary provocation that reaches back to the Marquis de Sade and Baudelaire; to detractors he is a peddler of sleaze and shock. Having written poetry and a biography of the h ...more
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“People often say that the English are very cold fish, very reserved, that they have a way of looking at things – even tragedy – with a sense of irony. There’s some truth in it; it’s pretty stupid of them, though. Humor won’t save you; it doesn’t really do anything at all. You can look at life ironically for years, maybe decades; there are people who seem to go through most of their lives seeing the funny side, but in the end, life always breaks your heart. Doesn’t matter how brave you are, how reserved, or how much you’ve developed a sense of humor, you still end up with your heart broken. That’s when you stop laughing. In the end there’s just the cold, the silence and the loneliness. In the end, there’s only death.” 99 likes
“Love binds, and it binds forever. Good binds while evil unravels. Separation is another word for evil; it is also another word for deceit.” 73 likes
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