Michel Houellebecq typically gives his birth date as 1958, although his biographer Denis Demonpion has established, on the basis of official records, that he was in fact born in 1956 (Demonpion 2005: 28). Houellebecq was born on the island of La Réunion, where his mother has spent much of her life in her pursuit of a peripatetic medical career. His father was a mountaineering guide. As a child, Houellebecq was raised by first his maternal and then his paternal grandparents. In his breakthrough novel, Les Particules élémentaires [Atomised], which borrows many elements from his own life, Houellebecq castigates the protagonists’ mother (appearing under the real name of …

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Morrey, Douglas. "Michel Houellebecq". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 May 2010
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