Nathan's Reviews > Atomised

Atomised by Michel Houellebecq
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's review
Jun 10, 11

bookshelves: 1001-books, read-2011, sci-fi, translation
Read in June, 2011

I don't think there was one happy person in this book. Possibly the 14 year old taking a shower with her two 14 year old friends that Bruno was masturbating to, but if they were happy it was only because they were 14 and that's sexual prime. They'll be depressed by the time they're 20 and too old to fuck anymore. No, I'm really not joking. That pretty much is the gist of the book, and that's pretty much the language it's written in. I mean I could have gone into more detail about the naked 14 year old, but apart from that the only thing I'm lacking is a random paragraph either about science that looks like it was lifted directly off of a journal page or a rant about old hippies. I actually liked the old hippie rants a lot. Maybe they weren't happy, but they made me smile.

Despite its overly sexed nature and entirely depressing characters the book really does have some insight. Getting old sucks. That much we know. But Houellebecq does a good job at tying the depression that comes with getting older to sex. It comes from not being as...functional as sex, not getting enough sex, and mostly from not being able to get enough sex from 14 year old girls. As we grow out of our sexual prime, we still desire the full fledged sexual prime and are completely unable to get it. This makes us depressed. This depression means we can't even get it up when we can get it with some old 35 to 40 year old and not getting it up makes us more depressed. Granted this is all from the perspective of a guy who could never get any anyway, and he admits that part of the problem may not be getting old, but rather simply having no game. If only there was no need to have sex everyone would be happy! Oh yeah, and part of the depression is also from just getting old and close to death. That sucks too, but not as much as no sex thing.

I'm torn about how to rate this book though. It was alright to read, but it really did read like some bitter 40 year old virgin writing about how bad the world is. A lot of it was very very predictable too. In fact, the more I think about it the more I think the book wasn't very good at all, but I kept reading for all the sex. But, then I started to think, well damn, maybe I really AM fixated on sex and he's right. In fact, I think he just may have earned another star just for that. I mean if the only thing that really kept me turning the pages was the sex, then dude made his point right?

Oh yeah, the sci-fi tag is not a mistake.

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