Atomised

By Michel Houellebecq, Frank Wynne (translator),

Book cover of Atomised

Book description

Half-brothers Michel and Bruno have a mother in common but little else.

Michel is a molecular biologist, a thinker and idealist, a man with no erotic life to speak of and little in the way of human society.

Bruno, by contrast, is a libertine, though more in theory than in…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Atomised as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I often feel like fiction "does" loneliness far better than nonfiction. This is because loneliness is so abstract and messy and the way that it is "lived" is often depicted more realistically in fiction.

I loved Michel Houllebecq’s novel because it’s a painfully beautiful portrayal of the ways that loneliness manifests in modern lives. The characters are achingly lonely in so many ways, and you can see yourself refracted in them as a contemporary human being.

France has produced its fair share of “bad boys” in literature. Michel Houellebecq is among the most recent, and he is probably the ur-French bad boy of literature, with this book as his breakthrough novel.

Being a Francophile, I was inclined to like this book, but Houellebecq is a tremendous writer. Insightful and profound passages in this book intertwine with the humorous, embarassing, and painful elements of two men’s lives. It is frankly a sight to be seen, this book: certain passages will make you put it down and have a revelation.

You might not agree with all of the…

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