First Books Michel Houellebecq Whatever

ISBN 13: 9781852425845

Whatever

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9781852425845: Whatever

Cult novel about French Generation X. Book sold 40000 copies in France and won may prizes for the author who is a poet and father figure of new school of writing and literary magazine Perpendiculare.

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About the Author:

Novelist and poet Michel Houellebecq was born on the 26th of February 1958, on the French island of Reunion. At the age of six, Michel was given over to the care of his paternal grandmother, a communist, whose family name he later adopted. His literary career began when, at twenty, he started to move in poetic circles in France. Whatever, Houellebecq's first novel, has been translated into several languages. A novel of darkness and despair, it is, at the same time, full of humour. Since 1996, Houellebecq's work has been published by Flammarion, where Raphael Sorin is his editor. His second collection of poems, Le sens du combat ("The Meaning of the Fight"), obtained the Prix Flore in 1996. In 1997, Rester vivant and La poursuite du bonheur, in revised form, were re-released in one volume. In 1998, he received the prestigious Grand Prix National des Lettres Jeunes Talents for the entirety of his literary output. He has also won the Prix Novembre (for Atomised). The spring of 2000 saw the debut of his first album, Presence humaine, where he sings a number of his poems to the music of Bertrand Burgalat. He currently lives in Ireland.

From Publishers Weekly:

The unnamed narrator of Houellebecq's novel is Marcuse's one-dimensional man. A single, 30-year-old computer engineer in Paris with no sex life, he suffers from a chronic passivity that, in Houellebecq's view, is characteristic of Generation X. He buys, but doesn't take joy in any of the things he possesses. He has acquaintances, but no friends. In his off hours he writes dialogues featuring an assortment of barnyard animals. When his company sends him and a colleague, Bernard, out to Rouen and La Roche-sur-Yon to consult on software, nothing much gets done. In Rouen he suffers from heart problems. Since Bernard visits him in the hospital, a bond develops between them. Bernard, cursed with a repulsive appearance and a horny disposition, makes obnoxious advances to every woman he sees and is predictably rejected. Sexual deprivation is the atmosphere in which these men exist. That both men see women only in terms of their sexual features makes their impotence even more pathetic. After breaking up with his last girlfriend two years ago, the narrator has withdrawn from the romantic arena. And yet he has developed an intricate and mean-spirited, if ill-defined, theory of sexual hierarchy. The loose narrative condenses to an action sequence when the narrator tries to get Bernard to murder a woman with a steak knife, but the incident is gratuitous. In the end, Houellebecq displays none of the novelist's eye for detail and, further, defaults on the development of a vital main character, who might have connected this series of threadbare incidents into an interesting social comment. (Jan.) FYI: A bestseller in France, this novel won the 1995 Prix Flore for best first novel.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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