Michel Houellebecq The Possibility of an Island Reviews

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“The Possibility of an Island ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 17/05/2006

The Possibility of an Island
Michel Houellebecq
Knopf, May 2006, $24.95
ISBN: 0307263495

Now fortyish Daniel built a lucrative career on commercializing his bad taste as a clown who enjoyed the absurd western ideology of evil. He created standup comedy sketches, films and rap records. Once e was wealthy, Daniel and his wife Isabelle chose to escape the stupid malevolent society by moving to a remote estate in Spain. When the couple learns that life is nasty as Isabel falls victim to the droop, their marriage dies.

Daniel joins the Elohim, a sect that seeks immortality through sexual indulgence and artificial human life. However that does not pump up Daniel as much as meeting the much younger virile Esther, whose sex drive is astronomical (perhaps the age difference make sit seem that way). They fall in love, but he can't keep it up with her so it ends leaving him despondent with thoughts of is that all there is as he considers suicide. Two millenniums into the future, neohuman clones of Daniel and others including his dog Fox live at the state courtesy of Elohim's success even as the mutant survivors of nuclear disasters and the Great Dry Up die just outside the compound.

This is a strange insightful look at what is humanity from various angles. The storyline rotates chapters between the "present" and the future" though the latter are small insets. Daniel is a fascinating protagonist as he struggles with the fact that once you are born dying begins, which in middle age is speeded up by biological deterioration. Though at times the philosophy of humanity equates to death overwhelms the action, fans of thought provoking contemporary character study and futuristic science fiction will appreciate this effusive pessimistic glimpse at what is mankind.

Harriet Klausner

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