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Elementaire deeltjes

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  27,388 ratings  ·  1,655 reviews
Elementaire deeltjes is het verhaal van de twee halfbroers Bruno en Michel, kinderen van eenzelfde moeder, die half verweesd los van elkaar opgroeien en elkaar pas later leren kennen. De in zijn schooltijd gekwelde Bruno ontwikkelt zich tot een ziekelijk aan seks verslaafde genotzoeker. De eenzame ziel Michel groeit uit tot een briljant moleculair bioloog, wiens onderzoeki ...more
Paperback, 343 pages
Published 2001 by De Arbeiderspers (first published August 24th 1998)
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3.80  · 
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 ·  27,388 ratings  ·  1,655 reviews


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Manny
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
Greg
Aug 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, life-is-shit
"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
...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Robin
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robin by: Rob Squires
This book doesn't care if you read it.

It doesn't care if you buy it or borrow it, if you deface it, if you understand it, if you have the remotest interest in it.

It doesn't try to be liked. It's far, far, far, too cool for school.


French author Michel Houellebecq, not caring.

And when I say that, I do NOT mean it's "cool" in a positive way. I found half of it dry, aloof, and didactic - like reading a doctorate level physics textbook. It felt imperious and full of itself. It felt over my head. The
...more
sarah
May 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Fabian
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extraordinary, outstanding, and absolutely not-to-be-missed*!

* "The Elementary Particles" holds you captive like only the best of 'em can. Think-- a long, cold autumn afternoon sipping coffee and reading "Never Let Me Go." Think-- Dan Brown# poolside. All of these experiences that could conceivably last one blissful, insatiable sitting (the novels that are not considered novellas, that is)-- this is one of 'em. The artistry is like a painting, the reading is like some immersive exercise that ble
...more
Hadrian
Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, fiction
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
...more
Jessica
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
Steven Godin
Daringly original and yes, ludicrously filthy!, but for anyone that thinks this is just three hundred and eighty pages of Masturbating, blow-jobs and debauchery your missing the point, as there are far more serious things going on here than spanking the monkey! and alike. Michel Houellebecq has written a work of great intelligence and maturity that is nihilistic in nature and immensely sad but was always compulsive reading. Concerning French half-brothers Michel and Bruno where the only thing th ...more
Lorenzo Berardi
Jul 12, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, 2003
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
...more
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.
Amrit Chima
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris_P
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The way Houellebecq combines science and sociology is amazingly intelligent and deliciously dizzying. Asexuality and sex addiction, the two offsprings of the sexual liberation of the 60s, are envisioned by the French author in a marriage whose fruit seems to be extremely... Nietzschean. I must admit I got completely carried away, while the trick he pullled in the epilogue had me looking for my mind cause yeah, I suddenly felt it missing.
Amazing stuff.
Scott
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, fiction
Imagine a stylish French man, grumpily smoking a lung-shreddingly strong cigarette and repeating in his thick accent variations on the phrase ‘Life, she is shit’.

That is this novel, and author Michel Houellebecq is a dishevelled version of that Frenchman.

If you’ve read Whatever, or The possibility of an Island, or indeed any of Houellebecq’s work you know what a cheerless sourpuss he can be. His characters, inevitably middle aged Frenchmen, usually live lives of despair and ennui, (often mysogyn
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-french
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 co
...more
Paul Bryant
Nov 18, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
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

http://books.guardian.co.uk/departmen...

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
...more
Warwick
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, fiction, paris
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
...more
Rhonda
Feb 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Grayem82
Jun 26, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jim Elkins
Oct 09, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
When the Middle Class Aspires to Cold Nihilism

Well, it seems there is hardly any point in contributing an other review, when so many people think "The Elementary Particles" ("Atomised" in the UK) is a "powerful," "unflinching" book. But it brought Houellebecq into the public eye and set the stage for his later books, so it's worth reconsidering.

I think it's weak: weaker than all of the models he attempts to emulate.

If you want genuine existential disorientation, read Sartre.

If you want intransi
...more
Lee Klein
Apr 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Milica Chotra
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rositsa Zlatilova
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-must
The Elementary Particles wasn’t an easy read – it required long breaks in between and an even longer walk after I finished it. The book put me in all possible moods – I cried and laughed and felt sad, then was ignorant and rude and then bearable again.

It tells the story about the last people on the planet who were so disconnected and dysfunctional that they saliently agreed to disappear or at least didn't bother to live as individuals any longer. Those people accumulated so much grief and emptin
...more
David
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-lit
I wanted to read a Michel Houellebecq book for awhile and after reading an excellent review by a Mexican GR friend, and seeing as my local library had this book, I finally succumbed to this acclaimed French author.

I must admit for some readers this may not be a good starting book. Even for myself, I was a little worried. Why? Well Houellebecq does have a reputation out there and for some, this is not for the faint of heart. And there is all the hoopla about his more recent novel Submission.

This
...more
Arwen Ungar
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
Karl Hallbjörnsson
DNF, terrible. Read half and have had enough.
Avital
Oct 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
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.
Antonio
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
“The world outside had its own rules, and those rules were not human.”

Another work of the controversial author Michel Houellebecq. Differently that The Possibility of an Island, his first book I've read, in this one the author criticism and satire are driven essentially towards the hippie culture, feminism, and sexual liberalism.

“Irony won't save you from anything; humour doesn't do anything at all. You can look at life ironically for years, maybe decades; there are people who seem to go thr
...more
Ben Loory
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the ending makes the book. which is nice to see! usually with novels i get it after 50 pages and then it's like here's more of the same forever and ever until one of you finally gives up. but not here!

on top of that, houellebecq has a lot of strengths as a writer, but the one that really matters to me is that he's funny. in fact the writer he most reminds me of, perhaps bizarrely, is Douglas Adams... he's like a douglas adams writing for tired old european intellectuals instead of for goofy high
...more
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Author's purpose 1 4 May 02, 2019 03:47AM  
Lietuva / Lithuania: M. Houellebecq "Elementariosios dalelės" - 2015 m. spalio mėn. knyga 15 65 Nov 05, 2015 01:49AM  

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3,947 followers
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
“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.” 173 likes
“It's a curious idea to reproduce when you don't even like life.” 151 likes
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