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Half-brothers Michel and Bruno have a mother in common but little else.

Michel is a molecular biologist, a thinker and idealist, a man with no erotic life to speak of and little in the way of human society. Bruno, by contrast, is a libertine, though more in theory than in practice, his endless lust is all too rarely reciprocated. Both are symptomatic members of our atomised society, where religion has given way to shallow 'new age' philosophies and love to meaningless sexual connections.

Atomised (Les Particules Elementaires) tells the stories of the two brothers, but the real subject of the novel is in its dismantling of contemporary society and its assumptions, in its political incorrectness, and its caustic and penetrating asides on everything from anthropology to the problem pages of girls' magazines. A dissection of modern lives and loves. By turns funny, acid, infuriating, didactic, touching and visceral.

Reviews

Very moving, gloriously, extravagantly filthy and very funny

Independent

Destined to become a cult book... a genuine page-turner

Observer

A brave and rather magnificent book

Daily Telegraph

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Formats & editions

  • Atomised
    Michel Houellebecq

    Paperback

    9780099283362

    April 6, 2001

    Vintage

    384 pages

    RRP $26.99

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