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The Possibility of an Island

The Possibility of an Island [Kindle Edition]

Michel Houellebecq
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'takes you by the throat and shakes you. A bracing mix of visionary Aldous Huxley, Evelyn Waugh at his cruellest, and ranting John Osborne, THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ISLAND is a charging bull in the china shop of modern fiction.' (David Coward THE TLS )

'His deftly constructed novel is a bleak comment on contemporary society, at times funny, brutal and revolting.' (THE ECONOMIST )

'THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ISLAND is above all an aesthetic achievement. For this, Houellebecq should win the Prix Goncourt that polemics and personalities have made so elusive.' (THE SCOTSMAN )

'an exhilarating a class of his own.' (Sebastian Shakespeare LITERARY REVIEW )

'there is no doubt that he is a writer who deserves the serious attention that he is now receiving.' (Douglas Kennedy THE TIMES )

'provocative and satisfying fiction.' (Sam Phipps THE HERALD )

'the novel is essential reading for anyone concerned with the state of either contemporary fiction or the contemporary world.' (Michael Arditti THE DAILY MAIL )

'there are passages of irresistible black humour, savage condemnation and genuine (and surprising) sentiment.' (Tim Martin THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY )

'if you liked ATOMISED and PLATFORM, you'll love THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ISLAND..... the most talented of current French writers.' (Tibor Fischer SUNDAY TELEGRAPH )

'It will sicken you, reduce you to laughter and stun you with its savage directness, but it will always leave you thinking.' (SPAIN MAGAZINE )

'the first 300 pages of this novel prove that Houellebecq is one of the best novelists writing today.' (Matt Cherry INDPENDENPENT ON SUNDAY )

Book Description

The new novel from the bestselling, highly acclaimed and always controversial author of Atomised.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 791 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307275213
  • Publisher: Phoenix (12 Jun 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #140,674 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Praying for a second translation 26 Oct 2006
First things first, Michel Houellebecq is one of the most compelling writers about. He may be sexist, misogynistic , racist, Islamaphobic and probably tortures teddy-bears in his spare time but the power of the ideas flowing through his previous book sweep such labellings aside. Who cares about his politics his force of mind projects itself from the page so masterfully? Few other writers today can match him for ability or willingness to engage with the problems of 21st century life. You don't have to agree, just entertain the suggestions and it will lead you into dark places in your mind and questions you've tried to avoid answering.

Thus I was gutted when after the first 100-or-so pages of The Possibility Of An Island it became clear that he hadn't 'done it again' he'd actually produced something of a damp squib. In fact the book picks up in the second half as Daniel becomes increasingly central to the fate of the Elohim and humanity, yet, it still missed something.

This is a great puzzle for me. Everything's there that's made Houellebecq great in the past and is looked at from interesting new perspectives: men are still sexual deviants always looking for the younger woman but now the younger woman is shown to be just as cruel as the older husband, the ridiculous nature of religion in a scientific world is held up for all to see in the form of new-age-cultism, the degeneration of the body in a world that loves youth is examined in detail and reprising the theme of 'Atomised' humanity is to be replaced by a superior new breed. So why does it feel so lifeless?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Always thought provoking 28 Mar 2006
Houllebecque's most recent work is no Atomised, and nor will it win over those who did not enjoy his previous works. That said, the novel's unusual and chronologically displaced story and aging male protagonist allow Houllebecque to tear through the subcutaneous fat of society and rip into the male psyche. Houllebecque is frank and honest, where others dare not tread, and skillfully incorporates science and biology as a means of explaining human behaviour to much greater affect than any other current author (he has a medical background). Those
who argue that the book is a poor work of science fiction, or lacking a well developed story, completely miss Houllebecque's aim; the novel is not a story - it is an exploration and analysis of human behaviour and society. Houllebecques insights are often hilarious, similarly confronting, but always thought provoking, original and insightful. His equal treatment and command of biology, psychology and philosophy is rare, and to be enjoyed in this fascinating title.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
This is undoubtedly Houellebecq's most ambitous work to date. The themes of his previous novels, such as the fragmentation of modern society, the masochistic cult of youthful sexuality in an aging society, and the possibility of happiness in a world in which values have been stripped to those of hedonistic individualism at the same time that the satisfaction of those desires has never been harder to obtain, are again explored, but here in a quite novel setting, and to a more thorough conclusion.

The novel is composed of two parallel narratives, both concerning the character of Daniel, a politically incorrect comedian who has made a carreer out of exploiting the cruelty and prejudices of the masses. The first narrative is of the life of the original human Daniel, the second concerns that of his cloned successors. The two narratives have a kind of symmetry. Whereas the human Daniel gradually loses his faith in humanity, the power of love, and his ability to obtain any kind of love, sexual or otherwise, the cloned versions of Daniel gradually emerge from a completely isolated, pain free environment, to awaken to the desire and possibility of human social and sexual contact.

The isolated world of Daniel's cloned existance seems to portray Houellebecq's vision of the logical conclusion to developments in contemporary society. Each clone lives in a secluded bubble of existance, designed to shield him from the pain and suffering that has been declared to be an inherent component of human biological life. Contact with others is made purely by e-mail, whilst outside in the real world, human society has degenerated into the level of animal savagery.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No suprises 1 Feb 2006
Micheal Houellebeck's (pronounced Wellbeck in case you wonder) 3rd novel seemed to me to lack the depth of both of his previous works, which combined with perhaps a new low in cover trashyness made me feel like Houllebeck is resting on his laurels.
Firstly, the novel seems to take a shortcut in that its main character is a celebrity- a rich and celebrated comedian. This seems a bit dubious at more than several points, especially given the ludicrous and unfunny nature of much of his 'humour', but this as with much else is barely developed by the author.
The sci-fi element to the novel, while giving it an interesting (somewhat unnecesarily)stucture, is equally undeveloped. While some areas, paricularly at the end of the novel, are touching, most of it reads like pretty bad sci-fi.
The book is, customarily, littered with graphic sex, and Houllebeck's standard formula: lonely man meets unbelievable woman, is well and truly present. Sentimental as usual.
Perhaps the major problem with the book is that is barely bothers to convince. Houllebeck more than before assumes that the reader is on his wavelength. If you enjoy Houllebeck, chances are that you are, and should enjoy this book. Just don't expect to be suprised.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars The Quasi-Certainty of a Tired Retread
I received this as a gift, with high praise. Ah, if only I'd listened to my instincts and thrown this away. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Christopher Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
I read this book after finding the excellent 'The age of Aquarius' by A W Findlay and looking for similar themes. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Sorina C
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit twisted and definitely misanthropic
A bit twisted and definitely misanthropic. I've given away 2 previous copies and I wanted one for my own library. If you like dystopias, you will like this.
Published 16 months ago by JC
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book.
You don't read Houellebecq to be heartened and uplifted, but reading him really makes you think, and he holds a magnifying glass to modern society like few other writers. Read more
Published 19 months ago by J. Craven
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing novel but the translation is a little lacking
If you are venturing into the novels of Houellebecq, this is the wrong place to start. This is different from Houellebecq's previous two masterpieces, Atomised and Platform, in... Read more
Published 23 months ago by M. Hallett
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Houellebecq is the only author whose books I buy in hardback as soon as they are published without a second thought because I know he always delivers and because I can't wait to... Read more
Published on 28 Sep 2011 by Jane Austen
2.0 out of 5 stars same old same old
After reading ATOMISED upon the recommendation of a friend and finding it negative and depressing, I decided to give Houellebecq another chance. Read more
Published on 18 Feb 2011 by Millas Thighs
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly a page turner
I bought this book with some misgivings, often award winning writers, and French ones at that, don't live up to their awards. This one does. Read more
Published on 21 Dec 2010 by Ransen Owen
4.0 out of 5 stars I feel nothing now
Michel Houellebecq has brought together his long-running obsessions into something which is possibly more representative of his outlook than previous works, one that can seem full... Read more
Published on 10 Oct 2006 by C. Pegler
3.0 out of 5 stars The possibility of another Atomised?
I have recently finished reading 'Platform' by Houellebecq, and I found it infintely more engaging than 'The Possibility of an Island'. Read more
Published on 21 Aug 2006 by Mr. J. A. Holmes
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