The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq

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An international literary phenomenon, The Elementary Particles is a frighteningly original novel–part Marguerite Duras and part Bret Easton Ellis-that leaps headlong into the malaise of contemporary existence. Bruno and Michel are half-brothers abandoned by their mother, an unabashed devotee of the drugged-out free-love world of the sixties. Bruno, the older, has become a raucously promiscuous hedonist himself, while Michel is an emotionally dead molecular biologist wholly immersed in the solitude of his work. Each is ultimately offered a final chance at genuine love, and what unfolds is a brilliantly caustic and unpredictable tale. Translated from the French by Frank Wynne. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The 1458th greatest fiction book of all time

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  1. - 92nd on In Which These Are the 100 Greatest Novels (

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