Hanneke’s review of Onderworpen > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Gary (new)

Gary Nice review, Hanneke. There is no other writer who captures postmodern existence, including its painful loneliness, as Houellebecq does in his novels. In many ways, it is tempting to compare Houellebecq and his controversial attitudes toward women, politics, and Islam to Louis-Ferdinand Céline (Journey to the End of the Night) before him.


message 2: by Seemita (new)

Seemita Mr. H has been floating rather too much on my GR feed off late and I am not quite sure where to place him; the mixed reactions are loud and clear. Thanks Hanneke for bringing out another aspect of his writing; a misogynist is a big deal-breaker.


message 3: by Fionnuala (new)

Fionnuala The iceberg image is great, Hanneke. I read this book recently too and it's true that Houellebecq's narrator comes across as cold and unfeeling towards women but only those who no longer succeed in stirring his weakening libido - which seems to require younger and younger stimulus. But then that characteristic fits perfectly with the way of life which Houellebecq's new order scenario offers - you can get a younger partner regularly and you don't even have to trade in your older models as in other Western societies but keep them on to rear the children, cook food and generally keep your life working smoothly. A sort of personal playboy mansion for the better paid;-)


message 4: by Hanneke (new)

Hanneke Thanks, Gary. Yes, you are certainly right, you could compare Houellebecq to Celine, Celine is even more openly outspoken, but somehow to be taken less seriously than Houellebecq, I think. Celine is such a grumpy nasty old man. H digs right into your present day fears of alienation and loss.


message 5: by Hanneke (new)

Hanneke Seemita, you should reallly read at least one book of Houellebecq. There is no writer quite like him. And don't let his misogynist sentiments keep you away. He actually does not like anybody very much, only the bed mate for just the night whom he cannot be bothered with the next morning.


message 6: by Hanneke (last edited Feb 14, 2016 02:09PM) (new)

Hanneke Thanks, Fionnuala. Indeed, in the new order as presented by Houellebecq as a rather pleasant possibility, all that is left for us is to cook food, arrange the household and watch with disgust - and probably pity - the introduction of your husband's newest model into the family.


message 7: by Gary (new)

Gary Hanneke wrote: "Thanks, Gary. Yes, you are certainly right, you could compare Houellebecq to Celine, Celine is even more openly outspoken, but somehow to be taken less seriously than Houellebecq, I think. Celine i..."

Have you noticed that in his recent photos, Houellebecq is even starting to look like Céline in his later years?


message 8: by Gary (new)

Gary Hanneke wrote: "Seemita, you should reallly read at least one book of Houellebecq. There is no writer quite like him. And don't let his misogynist sentiments keep you away. He actually does not like anybody very m..."

I agree. There is no other writer on the planet who captures our postmodern existence as well as Houellebecq, and he should be subject, I think, to the "exception française" for his controversial attitudes toward women, politics, and Islam. It is possible, I think, to distinguish the man from the novelist. While some might consider Houellebecq a despicable human being, he is nonetheless a great writer.


message 9: by Hanneke (new)

Hanneke Gary, I did indeed stare a while at H's photo on the cover, trying to read something of his real self from his face, but I can't. Yes, same type of man as Celine. Perhaps it is my own, somewhat irrational, interpretation that H looks like a very sad man. Of course, like you said, you must distinguish the character in a novel from the novelist. I know I really have to watch myself in that respect because I tend to do that. The two might not be having anything in common.


message 10: by Hanneke (new)

Hanneke Nice profile picture, dear Sabah, it fits you, I think! I peeked what you are reading of Houellebecq. I did not read The Possibility of an Island, but I did read Platform and Elementary Particles. Houellebecq is a special writer. I really think his misogyny is a chilling factor in his books, but it also makes for a special sort of read, because it feels so alien to me. I cannot recall him ever writing how he really liked the company of a woman other than for sex. You could take it as a farce in Submission, but you feel it is not really that. Interesting book, though. I am curious what you think when you get around to reading it. Will look out for your review of Possibility of an Island!


message 11: by Yvonne (new)

Yvonne Spot on, Hanneke!


message 12: by Hanneke (last edited Apr 20, 2017 12:38AM) (new)

Hanneke Thanks, Yvonne. Did you know that there is a marathon theater performance of both Platform and Submission next Sunday in the Stadsschouwburg? 4 hours with intermission, but that would be too much of an overload of Houellebecq for me, but perhaps not for you! Next Monday night there is a performance of Submission only. I am considering to go.


message 13: by Eva (new)

Eva I am still hesitating to start reading something by Houellebecq, because of his attitude towards women. I am afraid it will bother me too much to enjoy his book. How do you feel about it, doesn't it bother you? Can you read his books without being bothered too much by the image of the writer? And if i wanted to read one book only, which one would you recommend?


message 14: by Eva (new)

Eva And nice review! ;)


message 15: by Hanneke (new)

Hanneke Thanks, Eva. Perhaps Platform is a good one to find out where H is all about. H's attitude to women does not really bother me. I guess I don't really take it too seriously.


message 16: by Eva (new)

Eva I have to start somewhere, i do find his work interesting. I will check out Platform. Thanks.


message 17: by Czarny (new)

Czarny Pies I have him too. His world view and style are both quite repulsive. Are people simply assuming that it if it is that horrible it must have something serious to say?


message 18: by Hanneke (last edited Sep 13, 2017 04:08PM) (new)

Hanneke I can't speak for other people, Czarny, but that is not why I read him. He is an interesting writer with an unusual view of the world and people.


message 19: by Czarny (new)

Czarny Pies A fine review. I agree of course with your statement: "His dislike of women and, really, his disgust for mankind is always evident." I keep hoping that there is something more to Houllebecq but there does not seem to be. Congratulations on not using the over-used word "misogyny".


message 20: by Hanneke (last edited Sep 14, 2017 03:04AM) (new)

Hanneke Ha, thanks for that compliment, Czarny!


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