My literary criticism of the novel Whatever by Michel Houellebecq

Literary criticism of the novel ”Whatever”, by Michel Houellebecq
By Naomi Elizabeth
(As an aside: You know who decided it was ok to put me in the position of writing literary criticism? You know who? Fuck you.)
The first part of the novel is invariably flat. The protagonist’s experience is full of mildly depressing observations and alienating interactions with fellow office workers. It never veers too far towards pathos on the one hand, or lightheartedness on the other. The flatness, the emotionless account of a person’s, frankly boring, daily routine was to me a strong statement about the quotidien of human activities.
At the end of the book the character starts to fall apart, become violent and suicidal, and the story ends on a miserable note. For my purposes, evoking miserable images is just too easy. I was more moved by the initial sterility, the sense of looming unhappiness that is never fully pinpointed or addressed. What I found impressive was the book’s ability to create sustained, unresolved dissatisfaction, without any outstanding events or drama occurring.
After that, the concept of ensuing crisis or unraveling is comparatively less magnificent. Otherwise, my favorite part of the book was the story of the chimpanzee who, having questioned the meaning of life, had to inevitably be murdered by an army of storks.

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