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I thoroughly enjoyed this.

 

I've never read him before and only know him through reputation, namely that of a racist misogynist (though in today's climate that applies to people who make the 'okay' hand gesture so I'll take that with a pinch of salt). I'm not sure what all the fuss is about; he describes sex. What of it? Anyway, I wonder how many people have been put off him by virtue of a media that are full of hypocrites. I absolutely loved this. It was like being nourished by food, a feeling I haven't had while reading for quite some time. My interest was waning somewhat by the final third but that tends to happen with every book (all books, in my opinion being longer than they need to be). It picked up again after that and was a delight. My only criticism would be the epilogue. It essentially transforms the novel from a story about brothers to a peculiar science fiction romp that wasn't remotely necessary. I could have done without that in truth. 

 

The story is essentially two half brothers (Bruno and Michel) who have no real bond until adulthood. Bruno is obsessed with sex while Michel is almost asexual with only an interest in his scientific work. I must say, I found it hard to believe Michel as a character but complete understood Bruno. That may say more about me. 

 

I'm not sure what Houellebecq was trying to say by giving the two women in the brother's lives such tragic endings. Maybe that's where the misogyny accusation comes from. He seems to be suggesting that their sexual freedom is the very thing that has ruined their lives and left them unfulfilled as women. To be fair, that seems to be exactly what Sally Rooney was also saying in 'Normal People' too yet I doubt she gets accused of being a misogynist. The book is clearly about our 'atomised' western societies and how we have lost meaning so I'm not sure the criticism is valid. It's kinda the point. 

 

Very Good. Will read some more of him at some point. 

Edited by hux

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