The balance between philosophy and narrative detail is perfectly judged; the book slips down easily like a bad oyster. As is the nature of such things, it is grimly comic (Nicholas Lezard Guardian)
The mischief-making enfant terrible of new-wave French fiction ( Independent)
Le grand fromage du jour ( The Face)
It could well turn out to be a cult here too... Astonishing ( Time Out)
Snappy, bite-sized, and often very funny. Is it European exhaustion? Is it the soul of man under late capitalism? Millenial gloom? Post-Christian despair? Is it the Death of Love? Whatever. But Houellebecq describes it perfectly ( Literary Review)
Funny, terrifying and nauseating ( Independent)
This boy needs serious therapy. He may be beyond help ( Washington Post)
Just thirty, with a well-paid job, depression and no love life, the narrator and anti-hero par excellence of this grim, funny and clever novel smokes four packs of cigarettes a day and writes weird animal stories in his spare time. A computer programmer by day, he is tolerably content, until, that is, he's packed off with a colleague - the unimaginably ugly, sexually-frustrated virgin Raphael Tisserand - to train provincial civil servants in the use of a new computer system. This is a painfully realistic portrayal of the vanishing freedom of a world governed by science and by the empty rituals of daily life.
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