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."--The Possibility of an Island (2005) by Michel Houellebecq

"When therefore a man, whether attracted to boys or to women, meets the one who is his other half, the feeling of tenderness, trust, and love with which they are gripped is a miracle; they no longer want to be apart, even for an instant. And this way people spend all their lives together, without being able moreover to say what they expect from one another; for it does not appear to be uniquely the pleasure of the senses that makes them find so much charm in the company of the other. It is obvious that the soul of each desires something else, what it cannot say, but it guesses it, and lets you guess."--Plato’s Symposium where Aristophanes expounds his theory of love

"We no longer really have any specific objective; the joys of humans remain unknowable to us, inversely, we cannot be torn apart by their sorrows. Our nights are no longer shaken by terror or by ecstasy. We live, however; we go through life, without joy and without mystery; time seems brief to us."--The Possibility of an Island (2005) by Michel Houellebecq

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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 research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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