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Customer Review

Houellebecq is to be thanked for taking old HPL seriously, but the book suffers from Gallic overstatement, and it's central thesis - that Lovecraft hated the modern world - is not particularly new. Although Houellbecq is credited with a ground breaking insight into Lovecraft's anti-modernism, Colin Wilson had already broken this ground 30 years earlier, in his book The Strength to Dream (1962), which makes the same argument, albeit in much more sober prose. The French always appreciated Lovecraft more than Americans did - much as they did Poe - and it wasn't until the early 70s that Anglo lit critters looked twice at his eldricth work.One interesting question concerning the shared sympathies of HPL and Houellebecq, is whether Houellebecq's rants on the horror of modern life will run out of steam. Pessimism and contempt can only reach so far, and Lovecraft's own style started to change toward the end of his life. Predictably, the anti-vital Loveraft died before he could make the transition complete, but The Shadow Out Of Time suggests he was getting bored with railing against anything later than the 18th century. Houellebecq is still alive and a less virulent work from his hand would be a curious read.
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