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'.
This report prepared by Matthew
Knopf, Nov 2000, 25.00, 264 pp.
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.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner