This novel is about a 30-year-old Parisian computer programmer who hates his life. He shares his daily tasks in and out of the office while throwing up Seinfeld-esque commentary for every human encounter he has. It’s a cynical work that makes you see the negative side of human nature and all the annoying social trivialities that we partake in without thinking about it.
There wasn’t much in the way of plot—just a stream of consciousness from a man who is approaching a nervous breakdown The only interesting part of the book is his analysis and commentary on modern life, but there are too few insights to hold this book up, no matter how capable the writing is.
In a totally liberal sexual system certain people have a varied and exciting erotic life; others are reduced to masturbation and solitude. Economic liberalism is an extension of the domain of the struggle its extension to all ages and all classes of society. Sexual liberalism is likewise an extension of the domain of the struggle, its extension to all ages and all classes of society.
From Wikipedia we learn more on what the author, Michel Houellebecq, thinks about sexual economics:
A recurrent theme in Houellebecq’s novels is the intrusion of free-market economics into human relationships and sexuality. Whatever alludes to economic competition extending into the search for relationships. As the book says, a free market has winners and losers, and the same applies to relationships in a society that does not enforce monogamy.
Roissy/Heartiste has fleshed out these ideas for an American audience with his blog, bringing the phrase “sexual marketplace” onto the lips of many men who understand the perverse effects that demographics, choice, and hypergamy can have on relationships and ultimately society.
In reality the successive sexual experiences accumulated during adolescence undermine and rapidly destroy all possibility of projection of an emotional and romantic sort; progressively, and in face extremely quickly, one becomes as capable of love as an old slag. And so on leads, obviously, a slag’s life; in ageing one becomes less seductive, and on that account bitter. One is jealous of the young, and so one hates them.
In spite of finely crafted passages like the one above, this is a boring book about a loser who is unable to cope with modern life, but the ideas that Houellebecq has put forth concerning the relations between the sexes (way back in 1994) has taken hold and made it easier for men to understand today’s reality. In many ways he correctly predicted the future.
Read More: “Whatever” on Amazon