Megalomaniacal Histrionics

I’m currently reading/trudging/slogging through Michel Houellebecq’s 1998 novel The Elementary Particles. It’s not a particularly long book, but it is dense and a bit fucked up. Back in college a professor had joked that German philosophers were a bit maniacal while the French were depressing. This novel sort of backs this up.

But it is not without its moments. Here is a nice passage…

Between the ages of two and four, human children acquire a sense of self, which manifests itself in displays of megalomaniacal histrionics. Their aim in this is to control their social environment, making slaves of those around them (Specifically, their parents); slaves dedicated to satisfying their every whim. Their egotism knows no bounds — such is the nature of the individual.

p. 152, Vintage International Paperback