The Possibility of an Island

Michel Houellebecq, Author, Gavin Bowd, Translator , trans. from the French by Gavin Bowd. Knopf $24.95 (337p) ISBN 978-0-307-26349-0

Like the New Age camp of The Elementary Particles and the Thai sex tourist hotels of Platform , Houellebecq's latest novel has a self-enclosed setting: the shifting sites at which the Elohimites, a UFO/cloning cult, hold their seminars. Daniel, a shock jock famous for such slogans as "We prefer the Palestinian orgy sluts," narrates what turns out to be his life story. Early on, Daniel's partner, Isabel, leaves him after her breasts begin to droop and she gains some pounds. Then Daniel, following a catastrophic love affair with nubile Spaniard Esther, gets interested in the Elohim, gets close to the "prophet" and witnesses an event that catapults the group into the center of world history. Daniel's part in this converges with his jealousy of Esther. Meanwhile, the West is going to hell in a handbasket, and the Elohim idea of substituting cloning and suicide for reproduction and old age is catching on. Everything ends frighteningly (unless you like clones) and satisfactorily (if you take a cynical enough view). Houellebecq has never written better, yet this novel seems stuck in the groove—clunky mini-essays, gonzo porn digressions—first etched by his earlier novels. 50,000 announced first printing . (May 26)

Reviewed on: 03/27/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 423 pages - 978-0-7538-2118-3
Open Ebook - 230 pages - 978-0-307-26532-6
Paperback - 337 pages - 978-0-307-27521-9
Hardcover - 345 pages - 978-0-297-85098-4
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-297-85100-4
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