Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Review: Les Particules (The Elementary Particles) by Michel Houellebecq

This is a truly ugly book with little bits of beauty hidden within its hatred. The author is a French novelist who was highly acclaimed by reviewers when this novel was published in 2000, at the turn of the millennium. If I hadn't been so sure of the author's satirical commentary on modern society and its danger of decline, I would have been tempted to push myself down the stairs in a wheelchair, like one of his characters, after reading it! I would not recommend this book to those who are faint of heart, or in a fragile mental state. That said, I believe Houellebecq has a lot to say in this book, and, for those with an open-minded global understanding of the world since the turn of the millennium, this book is a must-read. I personally am not fond of post-modern literature because of its gloom and doom, but for some reason this book really resonated with me. Out of all its despair and hatred, I found that I emerged from the reading with an unexpected hope for mankind and its future. In the words of Chuck Palahniuk: "It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything." . Engaging in this text allows the reader to start anew, after all of this dreadful post-modern angst has finally ceased.

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