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Michel Houellebecq

Author of our Times

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John McCann

Michel Houellebecq is a French author whose profile in the English-speaking world is unusually high. He is an author who has put the humour back into the Absurd, without losing any of the awareness of the bleakness of the human condition. Undoubtedly one of the most trenchant satirists of our time, he deflates the projected utopias that we imagine protect us from the ills that beset us. More than many other novelists, his work is a reflection of the social and economic reality of life in a post-industrial society. Houellebecq shows a world of violence and tension, a world where people find it hard to be at ease, so that life becomes a process of disease. This book foregrounds Houellebecq’s scrutiny of our various attempts to confront and transcend the fundamental reality of the human condition, in particular the horror of death.

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Index 217

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Index abuse 6, 123, 130, 134, 161, 169, 180 Adams, Tim 171–172 alcohol 12, 14, 15, 80 animal 9, 61, 82, 96, 108, 177, 193 art 56, 67, 94, 95, 188, 204 Aspect, Alain 58, 69, 71, 75 authentic 158, 159, 160, 177, 189, 195 authenticity 176, 177, 195 authorities 16, 22, 23, 139 autobiography 44, 182, 183, 184, 186, 192 Baudelaire, Charles 16, 202 Baudrillard, Jean 63–64 Belgium 117, 120, 127, 129 beliefs 65–66, 87, 126, 128, 169 boundaries 2, 41, 118, 120, 122, 202 Bourdieu, Pierre 63, 64 bureaucracy 16, 18, 187 Burma 142, 156 Camus, Albert 27, 59, 89 cancers 89 Carlston 52–53, 65 cars 17, 51, 73 chaos 13–14, 41, 99 children 6, 23, 43, 57, 62, 89, 109–110, 123, 126–127, 129, 137, 142, 149, 155, 197 Clément, Murielle Lucie 13, 17, 52–54, 98, 166, 168, 172 clones 9, 11, 43, 53, 99, 172–175, 177–181, 185–186, 192–196, 198, 202, 209, 211 cloning 56, 129, 172, 174, 180, 182, 186, 195, 202, 211 Cohen, Erik 146, 148–151, 153 competition 30, 56, 67, 70, 78, 157 control 2, 12, 19–21, 28–29, 42, 44, 47–48, 73, 77, 80, 82, 85, 87–88, 91, 126, 141, 162, 164, 168, 187, 200–201, 204, 207–208, 211 Cramer, Kathryn 64–66 creation 101, 159, 173–174, 197, 201 crime 14, 43, 126 Cuba 159 cult 7, 11, 65, 75, 106, 109–110, 114–116,...

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