Friday, July 17, 2009

The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq

This bleak and misanthropic French novel switches between the lives of half-brothers Bruno, a failed English teacher and chronic masturbator, and Michel, an emotionally frigid molecular biologist. As toddlers they were abandoned by their mother for a life of "sexual liberation" at a commune in Big Sur, to stay with their grandmothers and live out separate but hellish childhoods and equally depressing adulthoods. A nihilistic and scathing critique of hippie idealism--perhaps not for everyone but I recall liking it.

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