THE MAP ANDTHE TERRITORYa novel by Michel Houellebecq
THE MAP AND THE TERRITORY
Published by Knopf January 3, 2012
“A tale of eviscerating insight, caustic humor,troubling beauty, and haunting provocation.
Michel Houellebecq has been outraging and galvanizing readers with his meticulously composed, cold-souled novels for the last 12 years. In his latest, he addresses the vatic nature of creativity and our ever-expanding definition of art while telling the story of an emotionally shut-down artist, Jed Martin, and a reclusive writer named (what else?) Michel Houellebecq.
“Jed’s inexplicably powerful photographs of old Michelin maps bring him fame, wealth, and love. Brooding and insular, he next embarks on a series of paintings that pay homage to people and their work as the Industrial Revolution gives way to the digital revolution. Jed tracks down despondent and disheveled Michel to ask him to write catalog copy for an upcoming exhibition, initiating a melancholy bond.
“Up to this point, Houellebecq’s novel is supremely ensnaring in its acute and arch dissection of human endeavors elevated and crass, the latter including the tyranny of trends and the so-called free market. Suddenly, things take a macabre turn as we’re plunged into an appalling crime scene, which gradually morphs into a disquieting paean to nature’s indomitableness.
“A bewitching journey on the river of art to the cave of death and decay.”
—Donna Seaman in a starred review for BOOKLIST
“A relevation for all who follow the controversial novelist…Very smart,
very moving, and occasionally very funny.”
—KIRKUS, a starred review
Translated from the French by Gavin Bowd
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