The Elementary Particles Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Elementary Particles

Michel takes a sabbatical from his scientific research to think, and his half-brother, Bruno, takes plenty of time to screw around. We read about them as children, and we see them go through this year of their life, discussing philosophy, life, society, love, and where we are all heading. These men both are close to love but have it all dashed away, which leads Michel to start a new 'metaphysical mutation'.
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The review of this Book prepared by Matthew

Knopf, Nov 2000, 25.00, 264 pp.
ISBN: 0375407707

    The major aftermath of the free love movement in 1960s France is the abandoned children that parents failed to raise. Two products of the flighty unions of the hippies are half-brothers Bruno Clement and Michel Djerinski. Their mother had no time to raise either child and their different fathers shared the commonality of never being around them.

    The two are separated as youths. However, in spite of some limited success by Bruno as a writer and Michel as a near Nobel Prize level scientist, both share common perversions as adults. Bruno and Michel worship navels and incessantly masturbate. They also flunk out in life as Bruno is institutionalized and Michel commits suicide.

    Readers will either recognize author Michel Houellebecq as the modern day Camus or just another biased individual blaming the world's woes on the extreme left. This reviewer remains divided about this work. At times the tale read like a powerful eulogy to mankind, but almost as often I felt like quitting without finishing the novel. The story line centers on a look back at the lives of the two siblings, especially that of Michel, throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Mr. Houellebecq takes aim at the hedonist side of the left swinging sixties, but fails to balance the picture with shots at the right me-first excessive eighties. This book is not intended for everyone as the novel is sexually depressingly descriptive and the lead characters even more disheartening. However, those readers who believe that death is the final leveler of humanity will want to read this well-written philosophically morbid maelstrom.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Elementary Particles

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Political/social activism    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Age group of kid(s) in story:    -   high school Taboo sex story?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   scientist Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   2 () Europe    -   Yes City?    -   Yes City:    -   dirty, grimy (like New York)

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   touching of anatomy    -   licking    -   orgies    -   actual description of hetero sex Amount of dialog    -   mostly dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Elementary Particles

Michel Houellebecq Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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