Amanda's Reviews > The Elementary Particles

The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq
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's review
Oct 15, 2010

liked it
Read from October 15 to 17, 2010

Giving it a mental 2.5 because I did like the writing style-- though I'm not sure how much of that was the translator, and how much was the author-- the switching around with different time periods, and and I could see that it was well constructed. I didn't like it. I didn't enjoy it. But I can see that it's not poorly written.

Ok. I am tempted to make a super negative review. But... I just end up feeling sorry for the author. His main characters are pathetic wrecks. It's hard to feel sorry for Bruno, because he's such a hateful person who brings it all on himself, and Michel is more robot than human. I couldn't empathize with either of them-- it felt like watching through a cloudy glass-- and here's where I wonder if it was the author's intention, or not, because in the end we realize bits of it are from the POV of a future species that will replace humanity, but still, much of the internal thoughts are what the characters are thinking. And damn, they have awful minds. It mainly focussed on Bruno, and he's a fairly terrifying character. He hates everyone except the his brother and the women who are willing to have sex with him. He fantasizes about teens and when he's a teacher he assaults one of his students, though in a non-violent manner. He's racist and selfish and I keep wondering if he's supposed to be a representation of humanity, because if he is, the author clearly knows a lot of shitty people and no decent ones.

One of the principal ideas of the book seems to be that humanity is driven by lust and doesn't know what love it, which just-- I can get making a dystopia of that, but saying that's the way things are NOW make me think that the author is possibly just too self-involved to open his eyes and see that a lot of people do care about other people.

Too much of the novel was creepy masturbation fantasies/scenes and unrealistic sex vacations. People say that France is more sexual than the US, but seriously, I can't imagine that orgies are as common as this guy seems to think they are. it's just-- cheap. It makes humanity and human relations look cheap. And I think part of the point of the book is supposed to be that they are cheap. But they aren't. Judging by this book, I'd say the author is missing part of what it is to really be human.

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Reading Progress

10/15/2010 page 137
50.0% "So far, there isn't really anything to like about this book. But since I've only got two books I consider "started and abandoned", I'm going to finish the thing."
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