Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Possibility of an Island - Michel Houellebecq

Admittedly, there is much to be said against Houellbecq's writing : it is cynical, misogynistic, vulgar, violent, uncompromising and probably also a few more that don't spring to mind right now.

'La Possibilité d'Une Ile' is hardcore Houellbecq, dealing with cloning, sex, sects and ageing, all tinted with his jaundiced view of modern society.

The action is unhurried; 500 pages in the first person to depict the life of what might be a Houellebecq alter ego, commented on by two of his subsequent clones, several centuries later. 

This is double science fiction insofar that (1) it is set in a distant future and (2) Houellebecq's style, however elegant and fluid, is strangely scientific. It is also what redeems the atrocity of the subject matter : Though I frequently disagree with the opinions and cynicism he vehicles, there is no denying he is a genuinely talented and truly original writer.


This novel has been adapted on film by Houellebecq himself, and according to Wikipedia, it also inspired the 2009 Iggy Pop album 'Préliminaires' (en français dans le texte).

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