Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Elemetary Particles

One of my favorite novels of the last few years was Michel Houellebecq's The Elementary Particles. I really loved the way the focus of the narrator would shift from macro to micro, big picture to small particular, without warning creating this beautifully strange tone. It forced me to ask, "Why here? Why is that what catches the narrators eye?"

Our own Nick's Pick Nick was a big fan of Platform, and had the following to say about it:

Some people will hate this book. Some will find it brave and exhilarating. Not since France gave the world the elegant eroticism of The Story of O and Emmanuelle has there been a novel so challenging on the subject of human sexuality.

Can sex be subject to global market forces? Mild-mannered, reclusive, forty-year-old Michel accidentally becomes involved in a scheme to capitalize on sex tourism, creating a worldwide chain of “friendly” hotels.

With philosophical echoes of Camus and Voltaire, in a subtly comic, satirical plot moving from Thailand to Cuba, author Michel Houellebecq has much to criticize about our society’s attitude toward sex in this shocking, prophetic, thought-crammed masterpiece, an honest story about love and business. Unforgettable.

Yes, Houellebecq is a fascinating writer. (Here's a really good article from The Believer about him. It was written by Sam Lipsyte, and equally wonderful contemporary writer.

I bring this all up to contextualize this link and to remind everyone that Mother's Day is coming up, and for the love of all that's maternal, get your mom something NOW! You don't want to end up with this appearing in print:

She doesn't rate her son's literary talents. "What's all this stuff about an old chemist who wonders if his secretary is having a wank?" she asks. "If it hadn't been my son, I wouldn't read that kind of crap, I would put it down straight away, because if there's one thing I detest in the world it's pornography. That book is pure pornography, it's repugnant, it's crap. I don't understand its success at all, that just shows the decadance of France." In her own book, she speculates that he writes about sex because he doesn't get enough. "What's this moronic literature?! Houellebecq is someone who's never done anything, who's never really desired anything, who never wanted to look at others. And that arrogance of taking yourself as superior ... Stupid little bastard. Yes, Houellebecq's a stupid little bastard, whether he's my son or not."

May 11! Hurry!

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