Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

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August Books 3) The Possibility of an Island

3) The Possibility of an Island, by Michel Houllebecq

I was rather bracing myself for this one, given Houellebecq's reputation for misanthropy and, well, nastiness. But it wasn't anything like as bad as I had feared it might be.

True, the protagonist is very unpleasant; a contemporary French comedian who employs a certain ambiguity in whether he is mocking or practising misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. But the plot turns out to be about his unintended involvement in the setting up of a new religion, and its reverberations centuries later when humanity has been largely replaced by enhanced clones. (Or has it? - seems to me one of the implicit questions, especially given the epilogue exploring the future world in a little more detail.)

I still didn't especially like this book, but I thought it tapped into a lot of interesting ideas and literary precedents, and there were sufficient hints that the author and narrator are different people with different views that I was not utterly appalled.
Tags: bookblog 2008
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