3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Big ideas, disappointing exploration!,
This review is from: The Possibility of an Island (Hardcover)
It was with great excitement that I bought this book for all of this French enfant terrible's previous books had, although very controversial and to an extent Islamophobic, been visceral and devastating critiques of modern Western European society and what is wrong with it and the collapse of the socialist liberal dream of Post WW2 Europe, and also very well written with complex plots too. However this book, although again with an interesting premise--an author, Daniel 1, a stand-up comedian and actor, relates the story of his life (mostly love life) and each of his many future clones then, in alternative chapters, comment on the life of their initial 'ancestor'--the novel falls down due to being a rehash of Houellebecq's prvious themes: modern man's obsession with sex, New Age sects who rely on technology to save mankind, misogyny, Islamophobia, cloning, the collapse of morals in today's Europe and so on--except that this time his central plot is too slight and weak to carry it off. The birth and rise of an obscure sect which quickly becomes the planet's premiere new religion, its emphasis on genetically improving human beings by altering them, the centrality of cloning, saving memories into computers and then uploading these into the next clone and so on; though these are weighty subjects, the story used to explore them is too weak and the central character too unlikable.
Big ideas as always but this time the execution was off; too rushed and a rehash of ideas he's already explored. Read Atomised instead--his masterpiece.