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Michel Houellebecq (1958 - )

Lifespan: 1958 -

Parents: French literature

H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life (1991|2005) - Michel Houellebecq [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Michel Houellebecq (born 26 February 1958, on the French island of Réunion) is a controversial, award-winning French novelist resident in Ireland and Lanzarote.

Houellebecq worked as computer administrator in Paris before he became the so-called 'pop star of the single generation'. Gaining fame with the novel Extension du domaine de la lutte in 1994 (translated into English by Paul Hammond), he won the 1998 Prix Décembre with his novel Les Particules Elementaires (translated by Frank Wynne) and published as Atomised (Heinemann, UK)/The Elementary Particles (Knopf, US) which became an instant 'nihilistic classic' that the New York Times called a deeply repugnant read. The novel earned Houellebecq and with his translator Frank Wynne the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2002.

His subsequent novel Plateforme (2001) earned him a wider reputation still, though extracts from the novel, together with an interview he accorded the magazine Lire led to charges being brought against him by France's Human Rights League, the Mecca-based World Islamic League and the mosques of Paris and Lyon in a trial reminiscent of Britain's Salman Rushdie affair. A panel of three judges, delivering their verdict to a packed Paris courtroom, acquitted Houellebecq of the charges of provoking racial hatred.

Extension du domaine de la Lutte has twice been filmed - in France by Philippe Harel and in Danish by Jens Albinus.

The English translation of his novel Platform was adapted as a play by the theatre company Carnal Acts for the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London in December 2004. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Houellebecq [Jan 2005]

Works include

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Houellebecq [Jan 2005]

H.P. Lovecraft : Contre le monde, Contre la vie (1991) - Michel Houellebecq

H.P. Lovecraft : Contre le monde, Contre la vie (1991) - Michel Houellebecq [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


  1. Platform: A Novel - Michel Houellebecq [Amazon US]
    The controversial French author of The Elementary Particles (2000) turns in another unremittingly bleak novel. In addition to amplifying his views on the decadence of Western civilization, Houellebecq displays an absolutely chilling prescience in his depiction of a violent Muslim sect. Misanthropic, sexually frustrated bureaucrat Michel embarks on a "Thai Tropic" package tour, amusing himself with snide commentary on his fellow vacationers and frequent visits to sex clubs. Although he is attracted to business executive Valerie, he has trouble engaging her in small talk. However, when they return to Paris, their relationship quickly turns passionate as they explore sadomasochism and public sex. Michel talks Valerie and her business partner into marketing sex tours to the Third World, selling them on his theory that Westerners have lost touch with their own sexuality. But when they decide to sample one of their own tours, their resort becomes a flashpoint for Islamic hatred. Houellebecq is unrelenting as he meticulously constructs a world that mirrors his own cold vision and that cuts uncomfortably close to the bone. --Joanne Wilkinson via amazon.com

  2. The Elementary Particles (1998) - Michel Houellebecq [Amazon.com]
    Bruno and Michel are half-brothers, born to a hippie mother who believed in following her bliss. As boys they live in ignorance of each other--at one point attending the same school without knowing of their blood connection. As grown men they're not truly close, but they occasionally phone each other late at night. Bruno's a hopeless sexual obsessive, often drunk or on his way there, and Michel's a molecular biologist, distant and inaccessible. [...] Michel doesn't hate women; he doesn't even notice them. Instead of leering at bodies by the pool, he stares at particles in microscopes. He wins prizes for his experiments, but never experiences the rush of life. For both men, the damage has been done by history, by mother, before the story begins. What interests Houellebecq are the permutations and recapitulations of damage--the way the particles of the self can never be completely reconstituted. --Emily White for amazon.com

  3. H.P. Lovecraft : Contre le monde, Contre la vie (1991) - Michel Houellebecq (Author)[Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    This short book, reprinted in the USA in its original French language, is an extended essay by author Michel Houellebecq (pronounced "Wellbeck") on the life and work of American author of the fantastic Howard Phelps Lovecraft. There have been other books about Lovecraft; science fiction author L. Sprague de Camp wrote an excellent study of the man, and S.T. Joshi's book is probably his definitive biography. What distinguishes this book is Houellebecq's uncompromising study (and, indeed, praise) for Lovecraft's personal eccentricities and the art they produced.

    Lovecraft, in Houellebecq's essay, becomes a sort of secular saint, a man who eschewed money and sex in favor of a purified vision of life and art. A man, in short, whose work was something of an antipode to Houellebecq's own erotically-charged writing. Whereas Houellebecq expresses his almost gnostic disgust with the world and the flesh in lurid terms, Lovecraft demonstrated his disdain for those two motors that run the modern world by ignoring them.

    The terrifying thing about Lovecraft was his refusal to find anything intrinsically worthwhile about ordinary human life. The life-denying religions take the same perspective, but usually temper it with a sense of compassion and an appeal to a higher realm. Lovecraft, however, was an atheist and a materialist. It is clear from his work that he believed that if there were any other realm of being in the universe it was doubtless even more evil and degraded than our own.

    Houellebecq is admiringly frank about Lovecraft's racism, his masochistic personality, his elitism and misanthropic view of the world. These things, he suggests, were not hindrances to Lovecraft's art, but rather the very thing that drove him forward. Houellebecq disdains any psychologically reductive explanation of Lovecraft's talent; no "fishing in the dark blue sea of the unconscious" for him. Some readers may find the book superficial for this reason, but I consider it a gem. Houellebecq's admiration for Lovecraft gives the book an almost hypnotic appeal. -- beakus via amazon.com

The Possibility of an Island (2005) - Michel Houellebecq

The Possibility of an Island (2005) - Michel Houellebecq [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

La possibilité d'une île (2005) - Michel Houellebecq [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The Possibility of an Island is a recent (2005) novel by controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq, set within the ambiance of a cloning cult that resembles the real-world Raelians. The English version has been translated from the original French by Gavin Bowd. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Possibility_of_an_Island [Jul 2006]


  1. Extension du domaine de la lutte (1999) Directed by Philippe Harel, novel by Michel Houellebecq
    A true anomaly in the French cinema scene,this despairing work has no equivalent in the contemporary production.One would rather have to look on the side of Louis Malle's "le feu follet" (1963)(the fire within) to find something not completely unlike Harel's effort.

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