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The horrors of Houellebecq

Michel Houellebecq's new novel is a further dig at French literature, human aspiration and himself. And a biography of the writer tries to explain his self-hatred

By Tim King   October 2005

The Possibility of an Island by Michel Houellebecq (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £12.99)

Houellebecq non Autorisé by Denis Demonpion (Maren Sell Editeurs, €20)

Daniel is a successful stand-up comic, principal character and narrator of Michel Houellebecq’s fourth novel, The Possibility of an Island. He makes jokes like the following. Question: “What do you call the fat surrounding the vagina?” Answer: “Woman.” Offensive? Funny? Both? But before we can splutter about sexist filth, both writer and comedian cover themselves: “The strange thing is, I managed to say this sort of thing while still getting good reviews in Elle and Télérama [a middlebrow…

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