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» One Touch Football - Archive » Books » Michel Houllebecq (Page 3)

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Author Topic: Michel Houllebecq
and I am the life
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leatherface - sorry i took so long to reply. seriously, what was so great about atomised. as far as i could see it was just a dour, sour rant by a humourless, embittered poseur. it was dull, affected, mock-profound mental masturbation for miserabilists, with a bunch of bad soft porn fucked into the mix purely to get attention. the made-up molecular biology and crappy "into the wesht" ending didn't impress me much either.

Jesus Rou, you don't like to mince words do you?

[ 09-09-2004, 22:00: Message edited by: and I am the life ]

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Leatherface
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quote:
Just finished reading 'Lanzarote' and thought it by far his best read...

manages to cram all his stranger in a strange land sexual fantasies and racial prejudices into less than 100 pages rather than the usual 300 or so
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have to say, I thought Lanzarote read like a slightly watered-down retreading of his other work. Perhaps he's starting to run out of ideas....

quote:
i suppose one view is that it's not a novelist's job to be right about ideas, but rather to get you to think and argue about them. from this point of view houellebecq is obviously doing a good job. he knows how to get people's attention anyway. sex and violence. simple formula really.

But Rou d'euro, the sex and voilence is only a relatively small part of his novels. To characterise him as a shock novelist who sets out to offend and nothing else kind of denies a lot of the amazing ideas in his novels. And that's what's made Houllebecq such a revelation in French literature - he's someone who writes novels about ideas, something that's been an anomaly in a market (French lit.) known for it's abstraction. Hope this doesn't sound pompous or anything! Some of his ideas may not be new, but the way he tackles them is.
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thom
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I've just finished Platform, and enjoyed it. "Enjoy" is perhaps not the right word, mind: as is clear whether you've read it or not, the book is a visceral, stinging and at times uncomfortable attack on Western liberal values. But it reads easily, and makes it points well; rather than being simplistic, I thought it clear.

Reading what else has been written, I don't think Leatherface and egn actually disagree that much. egn is right to say that "i suppose one view is that it's not a novelist's job to be right about ideas, but rather to get you to think and argue about them. from this point of view houellebecq is obviously doing a good job" but equally Leatherface is right to point out that Houellebecq is making his points in new ways, some of which arguably transform them into new ideas. Certainly that's how it read to me.

I will be seeking out Atomised shortly. Mind you, from what I've read on here it sounds a similar novel.

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Caliban3
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Atomised was so bleak and uncomfortable it made me itch. It certainly had impact, but I'm not sure I enjoyed it exactly - the misogyny fair crawls off the pages - but it's quite enjoyable to be shocked every now and again.
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Jimski
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I may as well repeat my opinion of Atomised that I put on the "grimness" thread, since this is the official Houllebecq thread:

Atomised was a real disappointment after Whatever, I thought. It just stepped the whole thing up another level, where I kind of stopped believing in the non-stop misanthropy and bitterness. So where I was carried along by the main character in Whatever, I just got irritated by the guy in Atomised. The ending was a fascinating idea though - almost more so than the rest of the book deserved.

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