Whatever by Michel Houellebecq

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Synopsis

Just thirty, with a well-paid job, no love life and a terrible attitude, the anti-hero of this grim, funny novel smokes four packs of cigarettes a day and writes weird animal stories in his spare time. A computer programmer by day, he is tolerably content, until he's packed off with a colleague - the sexually-frustrated Raphael Tisserand - to train provincial civil servants in the use of a new computer system





Houellebecq's first novel was a smash hit in France, expressing the misanthropic voice of a generation. Like A Confederacy of Dunces, Houellebecq's bitter, sarcastic and exasperated narrator vociferously expresses his frustration and disgust with the world.

 

About Michel Houellebecq

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Michel Houellebecq lives in Ireland.
 
Published May 5, 2011 by Serpent's Tail. 162 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Whatever

Kirkus Reviews

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Another highly regarded (and prizewinning) French novel, this 1995 confection delineates the ennui-laden adventures of its unnamed narrator, a disaffected computer expert sent with a colleague from Paris to the provinces, to instruct civil servants in the use of new technology.

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Publishers Weekly

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The unnamed narrator of Houellebecq's novel is Marcuse's one-dimensional man. A single, 30-year-old computer engineer in Paris with no sex life, he suffers from a chronic passivity that, in Houellebec

Sep 28 1998 | Read Full Review of Whatever

The Guardian

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Harel instantly connected with the material - "What Houellebecq does in literature, I want to do in film" - and the two worked on the script together, even visiting the same Rouen nightclub that Houellebecq described in his novel.

Aug 28 2004 | Read Full Review of Whatever

Publishers Weekly

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In the end, Houellebecq displays none of the novelist's eye for detail and, further, defaults on the development of a vital main character, who might have connected this series of threadbare incidents into an interesting social comment.

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The Bookbag

Those words sprang to mind while reading Whatever, first novel by Michel Houellebecq.

May 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Whatever

London Review of Books

The writer in France is having a good winter, whose autumn novel is no sooner out than it is being roundly abused on all sides for its dubious attitudes, and is then passed over by the jurors of the Prix Goncourt, who would rather argument turned, as by custom it does, on the forgettability of th...

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Time Out New York

A computer systems engineer (director and co-writer Harel) has been accelerating on the downward slope ever since his girl finished with him, leaving him listless, cynical, socially timid, touched by self-pity, and so passive and prey to confusion that the very idea of buying a new bed becomes im...

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Variety

What is interesting about pic's structure --- the story's told via a judicious mix of omniscient narrator and internal monologue --- eventually wears out its welcome, leaving only a succession of repetitive tableaux that picks up slightly at the 90-minute mark and again just before the end.

Oct 17 1999 | Read Full Review of Whatever

Reader Rating for Whatever
65%

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