Opinion on Houellebecq?

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Opinion on Houellebecq?

next step
I think all his books are pretty much the same. The Elementary Particles was really good. A quick, funny read.
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Re: Opinion on Houellebecq?

fschmidt
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Below is a review of "Whatever" that I wrote on another site.


I read "Whatever" and I didn't really like it. The main character is a jerk. Not an obvious asshole of the kind that I want to punch in the nose, but a weak pathetic jerk that I want to squish like a baby cockroach. He drifts through life without taking initiative of any kind. He lies when it is convenient. So of course he attracts some women, not as many as a full scale asshole, but still enough as a petty jerk to meet his needs. Then he meets Tisserand who is not only ugly but also seems like a genuine nice guy with integrity. Naturally the author blames Tisserand's failure with women on ugliness, but the author seems to at least subconsciously understand the world well enough to give Tisserand integrity which is clearly another factor contributing to his problems. Tisserand makes the main character see that the world is more screwed up than he realized, and he gets just a little insight into the insanity of modern dating and so he cracks up.

The author's portrayal of the characters is believable but I can't like a book where I have such contempt for the main character. There have always worthless people in history who do nothing and just drift through their meaningless lives. Yes people were more socially connected in the past, but they had less to eat. So the challenges changed, but the basic problem, a complete lack of character, remains the same.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: Opinion on Houellebecq?

Johannes
There have always worthless people in history who do nothing and just drift through their meaningless lives.
What's your definition of a meaningful or meaningless life?
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Re: Opinion on Houellebecq?

fschmidt
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This post was updated on .
What is meaningful is totally subjective.  But in the case of the characters of this book, I think even they would agree that their own lives are meaningless.  The book's style is nihilistic, highlighting meaninglessness, much like Camus.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture