"This book is principally the story of a man who lived out the greater part of his life in Western Europe, in the latter half of the century. Though alone for much of his life, he was nonetheless closely in touch with other men. He lived through an age that was miserable and troubled. The country into which he was born was sliding slowly, ineluctably, into the ranks of the less developed countries; often haunted by misery, the men of his generation lived out their lonely, bitter lives. Feelings such as love, tenderness and human fellowship had, for the most part, disappeared; the relationships between his contemporaries were at best indifferent and more often cruel."
Michel Houellebecq, Atomised (Les Particules Élémentaires.)
See also: my review of the book....and the film.