The Possibility Of An Island: Book Review


November 21, 2005

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If you’re not familiar with the name, Michel Houellebecq is the French novelist, now living in Ireland, who invited the ire of Islamists with his novel Platform in 2001, and whose work is peppered with comments such as: “The dream of all men is to meet little sluts who are innocent but ready for all forms of depravity – which is what, more or less, all teenage girls are.”

That line is from his new novel The Possibility Of An Island, already being tipped as a potential winner of the Goncourt prize, France’s Booker. As a statement of fact it’s difficult to disprove, of course, but in its ludicrous cynicism it’s equally hard to take seriously. And that, in a nutshell, is the paradox of Michel Houellebecq.

The novel is narrated by Daniel, a comedian and provocateur. He styles himself as “a sort of Zarathustra of the middle classes” whose stage shows and occasional forays into music and film have made him a notorious and celebrated figure in his native France. Not unlike Houellebecq, in fact.

Continue reading at the Sunday Herald.