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So, I finally got around to reading Houellebecq. All the hip kids, you see, were talking about it.

These books are pretty savage. James Wood points out that Michel Houellebecq ‘has the nihilist’s power to stain the fabric of life so utterly that most other contemporary writers seem by comparison sentimental and untruthful’. But I’m not sure all that radical honesty is necessarily productive of truth. I suspect that this writing is attractive, not because it is true, but because it is intense.

Anyhow, there is an interview with the man himself in The Paris Review. Here, an excerpt:

I hadn’t seen any novel make the statement that entering the workforce was like entering the grave. That from then on, nothing happens and you have to pretend to be interested in your work. And, furthermore, that some people have a sex life and others don’t just because some are more attractive than others. I wanted to acknowledge that if people don’t have a sex life, it’s not for some moral reason, it’s just because they’re ugly. Once you’ve said it, it sounds obvious, but I wanted to say it.