Just thirty, with a well-paid job, no love life and a terrible attitude, the anti-hero of this grim, funny novel smokes four packs of cigarettes a day and writes weird animal stories in his spare time. A computer programmer by day, he is tolerably content, until he's packed off with a colleague - the sexually-frustrated Raphael Tisserand - to train provincial civil servants in the use of a new computer system. Houellebecq's first novel was a smash hit in France, expressing the misanthropic voice of a generation. "Like A Confederacy of Dunces", Houellebecq's bitter, sarcastic and exasperated narrator vociferously expresses his frustration and disgust with the world.
'Funny, terrifying and nauseating' - Independent 'The balance between philosophy and narrative detail is perfectly judged; the book slips down easily like a bad oyster. As is the nature of such things, it is grimly comic' - Nicholas Lezard, Guardian 'Le grand fromage du jour' - The Face 'The mischief-making enfant terrible of new-wave French fiction' Independent