Reminiscent of Miller (Henry) and "the Catcher in the Rye" a bit. Not a timeless book by any means but a very decent period piece. Like Emerson (?) said, every generation must rewrite same books after their own fashion -- and that's just it, a cleverly and imaginatively done relevant, honest, and philosophical tale of "fear and loathing" for our times, a bit like the "Fight Club" only by an order of magnitude more intelligent and subtle. I've read it in one sitting: it's small and strangely bewitching, though like I've said, not perfect, or, to be precise, it's uneven.
I see other reviewers complaining about the translation, well, I thought the English version was OK, though I haven't compared specifically. Except perhaps the title, which perfectly translates into English as "Extension of the Domain of Struggle"--which linkes up with something in the text--but became "Whatever" (which doesn't, and is meaningless). Anyway, who cares about the title.
I also got another Houellebecq book (Elementary Particles), in English too, read just a bit so far, and it's not bad either. Now, here (it's a different translator though) the translation does seem a bit lacking, sort of choppy, awkward, so that tells you why you need to read stuff in the original. Meaning if you can read French, go for the original, don't be lazy, it's worth the effort in this case. Houellebecq's latest book, Plateforme, seems untranslated yet ... so here's a good justification to try the real thing if you can--if you put them side by side you'll see that a translation is always off, even if only in the overall feel... if it's close, it's awkward English, if it's more graceful, then it's not true to the source. Anyway, I'm deviating; what I wanted to say was that "Whatever" is an uncommonly honest and psychological book from a relatively unknown author and is well worth reading: thus my very strict evaluation is go get it.