HOUELLEBECQ THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ISLAND PDF

They could play, dance, love, and multiply their pleasures. They could leave a party, in the early hours of the morning, in the company of sexual partners they had chosen, and contemplate the dreary line of employees going to work. They were the salt of the earth, and everything was given to them, everything was permitted for them, everything was possible. In return, their children would not be at all grateful, on the contrary their efforts, however strenuous, would never be considered enough, they would, until the bitter end, be considered guilty because of the simple fact of being parents.

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Michel Houellebecq writes characters, voices, versions of himself that are all victims of the fallout from the Sixties. Set adrift by the sexual revolution, alienated by consumerism, incapable of belief and prisoners to their restless desire, they spin around the globe disgusted by everything but the hope of blowjobs from women half their age. Houellebecq would have us believe that this is a universal condition, that we are all, like it or not, caught up in his helpless rage against the tyranny of sexuality and the marketplace, but it generally comes across as a more personal complaint.

In Atomised, his iconoclastic bestseller, on the basis of which he was proposed as the most significant French literary export since Camus, he saw links between the march of individualism and the science of genetic engineering. The latter offered us a way out: the means to transform, perfect and dehumanise ourselves; to cheat death.

In its absence, half-brothers Michel and Bruno, one an arch rationalist, the other a compulsive dreamer, abandoned in childhood as was the author by their hippy parents, find different ways to destroy themselves over desire. Brave New World is our idea of heaven: genetic manipulation, sexual liberation, the war against ageing, the leisure society. This is precisely the world we have tried - and so far failed - to create. Having looked for further fictional and non-fictional versions of this place in the sex tourism of Thailand and the packaged hedonism of Lanzarote, he extrapolates another incarnation of it for The Possibility of an Island.

The book is set up as a dialogue between Daniel1, a scabrous contemporary comedian, and his cloned progeny of a thousand years hence, Daniel Daniel1 becomes, in his fortysomething cynical despair, involved with a religious sect, the Elohimites, which not only saves cells cryogenically but also puts its faith in a science that will allow personality and memory to be passed intact from generation to generation.

In part, in Daniel1, the author is sending himself up. Houellebecq shares with his creation a delight in provoking that most sensitive of audiences, the French intellectual left. He has not only delighted in satirising their revolutionary hypocrisy, but he has also enjoyed trampling on their political correctness, in particular with Islamophobic outbursts that had him in the dock for inciting religious hatred. Daniel1, like his author, is a satirist with a particularly transgressive act.

He says the unsayable and is desolately thrilled by the millions of euros he makes from it. The woman. The only compensation his characters can find in this predictably joyless and godless world is in brief moments of erotic bliss. Mostly, in this, they are allowed to have it all ways. Houellebecq can appear obsessed with pubescent sex; his characters frequently abhor the sexualisation of children - there is a holiday talent show here in which year-old girls masturbate on stage - but they leer on cue none the less.

In the absence of the necessity of sex and death, the post-human clones have found that all human emotion has, over the centuries, become extinct. He finds his only solace, for most of the book, in his dog, Fox, first taken in a thousand years ago by the only woman Daniel1 might have claimed to have loved. In its absence, you are left with a repetitive, clever shell of a world, a calculated atmosphere of pornography, gratuitous and starkly lit, which, though it is perhaps what the author is striving for, never feels quite enough.

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A dog's life (poodles excepted)

He lives in Ireland. It sniffs about. I was seventeen at the time, and spending a rather dreary month in an all-inclusive resort in Turkey—it was, incidentally, the last time I was to go on holiday with my parents. My silly bitch of a sister—she was thirteen at the time—was just beginning to turn the guys on. It was at breakfast; as usual in the morning, a line had formed in front of the scrambled eggs, something the vacationers seemed incredibly fond of.

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The Possibility of an Island Quotes

Michel Houellebecq writes characters, voices, versions of himself that are all victims of the fallout from the Sixties. Set adrift by the sexual revolution, alienated by consumerism, incapable of belief and prisoners to their restless desire, they spin around the globe disgusted by everything but the hope of blowjobs from women half their age. Houellebecq would have us believe that this is a universal condition, that we are all, like it or not, caught up in his helpless rage against the tyranny of sexuality and the marketplace, but it generally comes across as a more personal complaint. In Atomised, his iconoclastic bestseller, on the basis of which he was proposed as the most significant French literary export since Camus, he saw links between the march of individualism and the science of genetic engineering. The latter offered us a way out: the means to transform, perfect and dehumanise ourselves; to cheat death. In its absence, half-brothers Michel and Bruno, one an arch rationalist, the other a compulsive dreamer, abandoned in childhood as was the author by their hippy parents, find different ways to destroy themselves over desire. Brave New World is our idea of heaven: genetic manipulation, sexual liberation, the war against ageing, the leisure society.

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The Book of Daniels

For his many admirers, he is a daring, prophetic figure who anatomises with honesty life in the contemporary west and exposes the lot of the millions of mediocre, grafting individuals whose role in our financial and emotional economies is usually ignored. In his second novel, Atomised , he tilted ferociously, and often creatively, against such targets as the decline of religion, consumerism, sexual freedom and "free love", the liberalist tradition of the west and, with an abiding obsession, the nature of love. In Platform , he chose sex tourism, renewing his attack on western decadence and managing also to alienate the worldwide Islamic community with some gratuitously offensive comments about the supposed stupidity of Islam, which led to him being prosecuted unsuccessfully for inciting racial hatred. While I disagree profoundly with his position that all the major monotheistic religions are based on "texts of hate", he provides so little evidence to support his view that it is not worth engaging with him on the subject.

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The Possibility of an Island

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