The Possibility of an Island, Michel Houellebecq

Anyone who read Atomised will remember that Houllebecq is a man ill at ease with Western society, as opposed to the intellectual left as to consumerism. Possibility of an Island, thematically similar in another quirky format, alternatively follows the life of a narcissistic comedian, and those of his cloned sons 2000 years later, living isolated, emotionless lives in a bleak, post-human future.

This book has distinctively Continental dark humour but may offend the prurient with its cold and even misogynistic eroticism. The father is, for example, constantly seeking to ‘penetrate’ as many women as possible. The language, on the whole, is as unaffected as even the more supposedly human characters, but in a compelling and adroit manner that is carefully crafted so as to never become annoying or un-readable.

Anyone who can overlook the precarious technical details of the future, cloned world, will find a thought-provoking, sad, and at times very funny book that doesn’t, perhaps , touch upon life, the universe and everything as much as its author would like, but remains a compelling fusion of grand modern sci-fi and bitter yet subtle observation.

£12.99, Weidenfeld & Nicolson

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