The Possibility of an Island Summary and Reviews

The Possibility of an Island

by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Gavin Bowd

The Possibility of an Island by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Gavin Bowd
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  • Published in USA  May 2006
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A tale of our present circumstances told from the future, when humanity as we know it has vanished.

Having made a fortune producing comedies that skewer mankind's consumerism, religious fundamentalism, sexual profligacy, and other affronts, Daniel is forty before he falls prey to the human condition himself: his beloved's body sags with age, their marriage dissolves, and true happiness seems a luxury reserved for their dog, Fox. After the colossal failure of his second great love affair, he joins a cult of health fanatics determined to produce a misery-free eternal life - manifested here in the voices of Daniel's subsequent clones, who enjoy the umpteenth Fox's companionship but shun the bands of fugitive "humans" on the horizon. Their commentary on Daniel's fate, and on the race as a whole, illuminates the basic tenets of our existence - laughter, tears, love, remorse - and their nostalgia for such emotions, all of which have long since disappeared.

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"Everything ends frighteningly (unless you like clones) and satisfactorily (if you take a cynical enough view). Houellebecq has never written better, yet this novel seems stuck in the groove - clunky mini-essays, gonzo porn digressions - first etched by his earlier novels." - PW.
"A verbose novel of crushing ideas, ostentatious carnality and deep misanthropy that fail to connect. First serial to Playboy." - Kirkus.

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The book jacket blurb claims that Michel Houellebecq (pronounced Wellbeck) is the most famous French novelist since Camus.

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