An international literary phenomenon, The Elementary Particles is a frighteningly original novel that leaps headlong into the malaise of contemporary existence. Houellebecq shows the decline of human society. This novel is a journey towards a self-inflicted annihilation, where humankind will extinguish itself. We are tortured, contradictory, individualistic, quarrelsome and infinitely selfish beings barely different from the apes. The only thing that keeps us “running” is our belief in love. This is the horror, the vitriol that runs down your dry throat: That one day mankind will realize that love is just another expression for human elementary particles that occasionally bump into one another for sex. 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.