The Possibility of an Island  

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"The sexual life of man can be broken down into two phases: the first when he prematurely ejaculates, and the second when he can no longer manage to get a hard-on."

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Possibility of an Island is a 2005 French novel (French: La Possibilité d'une île) by controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq, set within the ambiance of a cloning cult that resembles the real-world Raëlians.

The English version has been translated from the original French by Gavin Bowd.

Michel Houellebecq adapted the novel himself for the film with the same name: La Possibilité d'une île. Benoit Magimel plays the protagonist.


Plot summary

There are three main characters, Daniel, and two of his clones.

Daniel is a successful stand up comedian who can't seem to enjoy life despite his wealth. He gets bored with his hedonist lifestyle, but can't escape from it either. In the meanwhile he is disgruntled with the state of current society, and philosophizes about the nature of sex and love.

His two clones live an uneventful life as hermits, in a post-apocalyptic future. They live in a time where the human species is on its last legs (alternatively, on its first legs: hunter-gatherer tribes), destroyed by climate change and nuclear war. The two clones are confronted with the life of the first Daniel and have different views about their predecessor. Scattered around are the remnants of tourist resorts, cities and consumer items and some natural humans living in small tribes without any knowledge of the past or of civilization.

Related media

A film based on the novel, La Possibilité d'une île, premiered in France on September 10, 2008. The film was directed by Houellebecq himself.

An excerpt from the novel is featured on the music album Comme si de rien n'était by Carla Bruni (track 2).

In 2009, Iggy Pop released the music album Préliminaires which was based on the novel.


See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Possibility of an Island" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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