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Extension du domaine de la lutte

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  12,192 ratings  ·  856 reviews
Ville de banlieue, chambre anonyme, petit travail, salaire correct, peu d'intérêt, pas d'amis, de vagues relations. Aucune envie, plus de désir, quelques habitudes. C'est tout un monde de désespoir et de non-sens qui s'ouvre en même temps que commence ce roman des perdants et des abandonnés, ceux qui ont érigé la routine en mode de vie, le renoncement en principe, le défai ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 155 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by J'ai Lu (first published 1994)
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Tako ახლა შევამჩნიე კომენტარი. უჰ ესეც მომეწონა, თუმცა სხვებზე ნაკლებად :)) ახლა დავამთავრე - შესაძლებლობების კუნძული და ესეც მაგარია. მოკლედ ვაგრძელებ უელ…moreახლა შევამჩნიე კომენტარი. უჰ ესეც მომეწონა, თუმცა სხვებზე ნაკლებად :)) ახლა დავამთავრე - შესაძლებლობების კუნძული და ესეც მაგარია. მოკლედ ვაგრძელებ უელბეკს ... :)(less)

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BlackOxford
Endless Adolescence

Meh. An amalgam of Harry Enfield (as Kevin the Teenager), Charles Anthony Bruno (Strangers on a Train), with a smackerol of Patrick Bateman (American Psycho). Praised in some quarters for its balance of philosophy and gritty dialogue, it's difficult to tell whether Whatever is really meant to be taken seriously...and, if so, as what. An angry, possibly psychotic 30ish IT nerd with an awkward adolescence has a breakdown and recovers...or perhaps he doesn't. It doesn't matter mu
...more
Lee Klein
Apr 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The British translator or publisher should be beheaded (or, well, at least vigorously booed) for calling this book "Whatever" when its French title is something amazing like "Extension of the Domain of the Struggle" -- if we otherwise lived in a total utopia, I'd say restoring the English translation's title to something closer to the original would be a major issue in this year's elections. This one seemed at first like it was written by someone other than the masterful dude who did "The Elemen ...more
Fabian
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A "Naked Lunch" minus all that heroin, a "Fight Club" minus the cast of rambunctious spacemonkeys.

A voice as singular (and freshly French) as Francoise Sagan's. A Novella that is ambitious, small, bitter-- it hints at the horrible and barely makes note of the magical in the everyday. Boredom is the biggest enemy, as WE ALL KNOW. Brutal, smart, crazy, incredibly edgy, a stylish nouvelle-classique at only 155 pages!
...more
K.D. Absolutely
The pervasive emptiness of human life is the main theme of this book. Thirty-year old narrator is a computer engineer in France and he is living alone in his apartment. In his spare time, he writes about animals, smokes four packs of cigarettes a day, has no friends, he has no sex life. While reading, even if I am already 49, I could feel the narrator's loneliness. I have all those he lacks, I write book reviews and read a lot and all those keep my idle mind busy when I am supposed to be relaxin ...more
Steven Godin
2.75 stars

If there was ever a writer who has dished out multiple blows to society’s nervous system then Houellebecq is that writer. He writes with a declaration of hostilities, with a filthy-minded stronghold for abjection, like he has nothing to lose. He knows a lot of people probably despise him, but does he really care? While I can't say I would want him as a friend, I will say that I've read much worse writers than him. I actually thought Atomised was really good, thought Platform was not ba
...more
MJ Nicholls
You have this friend who works in IT. He is rendered sick at the torturous formality and bureaucratic inevitability of existence, and slaps you on the face twice before bursting into tears. You phone his friend Tisserand who is unbearably ugly and hits on you twice, for help. You say: “You are so hideous, no woman would go anywhere near you, you disgusting pustule of a man.” Tisserand breaks down in tears but comes back with a brutal salvo: “You women are callous stiff planks who’re only out for ...more
Kamil
Oct 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first Houellebecq so I still give him the benefit of doubt. Even more so since it's only his debut novel. Poor writing and sexist. A critique of society, that supposed to be his main forte, is flat and banal. Yet another story about emptiness of corporate life and a guy that sees the point of life in "love". Love not meaning creating a partnership with a woman but simply fucking her. In the same time constantly whining how the only woman in his life that mattered was selfish and damag ...more
Meike
Apr 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-read, france
Grand Prix national des lettres
It's funny that Houellebecq's debut novel from 1994 was deemed scandalous upon publication, especially considering what he wrote later. In "Extension of the Combat Zone" (idiotic English title: Whatever), we get a remarkable amount of themes that will later be turned into major plot points or whole novels, and the story culminates in an evil spin on Camus' The Stranger that leads straight into madness à la Büchner's Lenz. Our nameless, 30-ish protagonist works for
...more
Cbj
Whatever is a truly entertaining and dangerous novel. Entertaining because Houellebecq must have had a lot of fun while writing it, thinking about all the people he would piss off. I certainly had a lot of fun reading it. It is dangerous for a number of reasons. Any office worker with any soul left, who happens to discover Whatever, would have trouble reporting for work the next day. The sexually unfulfilled (incels?) and the physiologically deficient might feel that they have finally found a wr ...more
The Final Song ❀
This was the longest greentext that I had read ever
Jason Pettus
THE GREAT COMPLETIST CHALLENGE: In which I revisit older authors and attempt to read every book they ever wrote

Currently in the challenge: Margaret Atwood | Christopher Buckley | Daphne Du Maurier | Michel Houellebecq | John Irving | Kazuo Ishiguro | Shirley Jackson | Bernard Malamud | VS Naipaul | Tim Powers | Philip Roth | John Updike | Kurt Vonnegut

I've already read and enjoyed professional misanthrope Michel Houellebecq's two newest novels, The Possibility of an Island and Submission, so tha
...more
catechism
Dec 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, en-francais
Our long national nightmare is over. I really, really hated this book. I wish I could give it negative eleventy stars. The narrator was both despicable and unspeakably boring (here is an incomplete list of boring things about him: his misogyny, his racism, his treatises on animals, his old breakup, his job, and his depression). I gather the book was supposed to be shocking and edgy -- like how hipster racism is "edgy"! -- and that his philosophical musings were meant to be deep and provoke serio ...more
Marc
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was my first Houellebecq, and also one of his first works (1994). From what I had read about him already, I think the chance is not big that he is ever going to become one of my favorite writers: cynicism, nihilism, and pessimism in general are wasted on me.

Reading "the extension of the domain of fight" (this is a literal translation of the French title; the English title summarized it in a wonderful way in just one word, "whatever") very quickly called in memories of Sartre's "La Nausée"
...more
Christopher
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-fiction
I'd heard of neither Houellebecq nor this book before a friend sent it to me last week but completely understand the controversy surrounding it and him now. What begins as a seemingly absurdist diary turns into a nihilistic death wish. I would like to give this only a single star but the powerful insights into the emptiness of modern man hit like a bullet. Houellebecq is not nourishment for the soul in any way but the emptiness he depicts won't leave you because of some bits of fine writing foun ...more
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Drivel. Middle-aged, misogynistic, opinionated protagonist who rants about Parisian life and the opposite sex. Pointless, tactless, and tasteless. Typical Houellebecq. Women should be young, perky, and wearing skirts, preferably ones that barely cover their ass.

Much literature has been written about love, passion or conquest of the older man with the younger woman, but it is literature because of the art of writing and subtlety of observation and emotion... not because of ranting or objectified
...more
Jana
Oct 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, south
French kissing? After reading several books from contemporary literature, I came to conclusion that French discovered depression and pretentiousness.

All protagonists have similar problems (loneliness, (a)sexuality, social awkwardness, money issues, psychological therapy and sedatives...) and they want us to believe that they represent the majority of us, and the author addresses the reader, me, to understand him, the protagonist.

I don't understand him nor I find his life philosophy so intriguin
...more
Baba
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
A man in his 30s with a solid career is depressed with the ways of the modern world, where Houellebecq postulates that the sexual revolution of the 1960s has led to the capitalisation of sexual encounters, where an unattractive underclass is exiled whilst the good looking privilege, overdose on sex, sloth and corruption.

Despite being mostly about two depressed men looking for human contact, this book is surprisingly funny at times. I can now see why I liked Houellebecq so much when I was younger
...more
Michael Scott
Whatever is the first book I read from Michel Houellebecq. Starting from the premise that the new world of information technology (IT) creates a new, de-humanizing territory for the modern person, Whatever focuses on the (lack of) adventures of a30-year old, IT systems specialist.

The book excels in the description of attending one's own life, or what the hero perceives as the life of IT-ers: selling a boring system to bored customers, giving boring lectures to a bored audience in a boring city,
...more
Jim
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, fiction
If you don't like depressing books, you had better steer clear of Michel Houllebecq. His is a particularly bleak and loveless world. Whatever (1994) was his first novel: It is about a thirty-something computer software engineer who sees, instead of the possibility of love, the possibility of suicide or even murder.

He travels to Rouen and La Roche-sur-Yon with a co-worker to make presentations to various regional governmental agriculture offices on their software. The co-worker, Tisserand, is yo
...more
George
3.5 stars. A short clever novel about a well paid 30 year old computer program trainer who is depressed, has a negative attitude to life, sexually inactive and a solitary man. His fellow computer trainer, Tisserand, who goes on a business trip with him, is ugly and fat, 28 years old and a virgin. Along with the narrator, they represent a sexual underclass.

This is Houellebecq’s first novel. Readers new to Houellebecq should firstly read his more famous novels, ‘The Elementary Particles’ (also tit
...more
RB
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Whatever" is often compared to, "American Psycho", which is aggravating. Ellis was not the first, by a long stretch, to deliver that style of narrator. You could look back a few years to James Ellroy's, "Killer on the Road", or way back to Jim Thompson's, "The Killer Inside" - in the crime genre, alone. But Houellebecq's short, bitter, and lastingly unsettling novel is not a crime novel. The chances the story provides to head in such directions it opts out of in place of chance or the improbabl ...more
Annie
Mar 04, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If office life got you down, well, don't read this book. It's bleak, pessimistic, and pretty standard for the single white male disillusionment with corporate toil tale that seemed to be everywhere in the 1990s. It takes place in France, while most of this type of fiction was probably American or British in origin, this one really takes the cake for being a downer without many redeeming qualities.

Oh, and the translator is so British it's distracting.
...more
Leo Robertson
Oct 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent comfy dollop of French misanthropy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMG-4...
...more
Tosh
Oct 26, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite Michel Houellebecq, but still an interesting read. Here you get the detached main character as he works in the computer world - all of this is much better in his later work. I wouldn't read this first - read the others then read this one if you need it for your collection. But by no means is it an essential piece of fiction by this talented writer. ...more
Austin Murphy
this guy hates life too much to give a shit about.
Magdelanye
"The progressive effacement of human relationships is not without certain problems for the novel....we're a long way from Wuthering Heights....The novel form is not conceived for depicting indifference or nothingness; a flatter, more terse and dreary discourse would need to be invented." p40

MH's world may be tense and dreary to contemplate, but it is not flat.Whatever Whatever by Michel Houellebecq is a most bumpy ride, offering fleeting but powerfully disturbing glimpses of the darker side of our social world.

In this, his
...more
Jos
Apr 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's all already there. Houellebecq's canon of modern society criticism is laid out programmatically to be detailed upon in his later works.

The program is contained in the title, all titles except for the one of the English translation, that is. "The extension of the battle zone", the individual has no retreat left in the modern world. The work place, relations, the purpose of life. Every area of life has turned into a battle. No system of arranged marriages within a small circle of village lif
...more
Writerful Books
Houellbecq's novella reminds me of Albert Camus's 1942 novel L'Etranger, in the way he portrays the anti-hero's existential angst and world-weary cynicism. A lot of Houellebecq's philosophical meanderings were spot on while much of it seemed like pointless abstraction to the point of becoming mental masturbation. Whatever (originally published in French as Extension of the Domain of the Struggle) was written in the 1990s and I get the impression that the author hadn't quite decided whether his p ...more
Rositsa Zlatilova
Extension du domaine de la lutte is a book about a 30-year old IT specialist who has such a sad and empty life that even the emptiest words on earth can’t truly or accurately describe. It is one of those books where everything is so bad and depressive that you think that it can’t get worse, but it does. Until the very end of these just over 100 pages. It’s a short book – you devour it for a couple of hours but need much longer to comprehend it. Every sentence slaps you with its sadness and compl ...more
Al
Dec 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Extension... by often controversial French author Michel Houellebecq is a dark tour de force, with almost no elements of hope in it. When I first started reading it, I couldn't continue, maybe because I was in a very opposite state of mind, and this is mainly a book to be felt. But once I got back to the book after a few months, I read it in a blink of an eye. It grips you with the enchanting style and liberating expression of the main character. It pulls you down with the depressive actions of ...more
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Around the World ...: Discussion for Whatever 4 58 Jan 01, 2017 06:33PM  
Reading 1001: Whatever by Michel Houellebecq 1 6 Dec 31, 2016 11:39AM  

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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, who writes vulgar sleazy literature to shock. His works though, pa ...more

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“An entire life spent reading would have fulfilled my every desire; I already knew that at the age of seven. The texture of the world is painful, inadequate; unalterable, or so it seems to me. Really, I believe that an entire life spent reading would have suited me best. Such a life has not been granted me...” 116 likes
“I don't like this world. I definitely do not like it. The society in which I live disgusts
me; advertising sickens me; computers make me puke.”
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