whatever by michel houellebecq

10 Sep

london 4.46pm sunny 21C thursday

it is a slim novel so i read it quite quickly. but i could not see why it was so praised when it first came out in 1994, even to the extent of a magazine(?, a movement? i dont know what to call it) being started which was inspired by it.

i went back to pick on it, reading bits of it, trying to find out what it is that i missed that garnered so much praise. but i could not.

i would be grateful if someone who praises it will tell me what i missed. do you think it is the english translation ? after all, the person who translated it was so tired out with it that they just translated the long french title to  ‘whatever’. it is the kind of word we use when we could not be bothered to argue back when someone is nagging at us.

so i guess that is the feeling of the translator when faced with that long french title. and that might explain some very long winded words in that novel, translated in english.

they said this novel was funny, but i must be lacking in a sense of humour because i dont find anything in it funny at all. perhaps the french have a different sense of humour or the humour comes out better in the original french. oh well…whatever.

i think if i were to have read this way back in 1994, (or in 1998 when the english version came out) i would not pick it out as anything special. but it seems the french made it a bestseller. and from that he made enough to give up his day job and devote full time to writing and proceeded to write other novels, which the critics say are interesting. i haven’t read them , but having read this one which the critics praise so much and finding it not so … i shall reserve judgement as i can see those critics  judgement seem rather suspect.

unless it is all the fault of the translator not good enough to bring out the hidden gem of his work. do you think so?

am really grateful to francesay for showing me how his surname is pronounced. it saves me from being profoundly irritated everytime i see that word and  not being able to pronounce it.

Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera

2 Responses to “whatever by michel houellebecq”

  1. MELewis Thursday September 10, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    Thanks for the shout out! Now you’ve shamed me into admitting I’ve not read anything of Houellebecq’s however….I’ll give it a try in French and let you know if I get anything more out of it than you did! 😉

    • alifesgayventure Thursday September 10, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

      oh, please do, you might show me what i have missed. and explain the french humour in it.

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