- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Knopf (Jan. 3 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307701557
- ISBN-13: 978-0307701558
- Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 2.9 x 24.2 cm
- Shipping Weight: 581 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #389,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Map and the Territory Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Jan 3 2012
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“Archly sarcastic, cheerily pedantic, willfully brutal.... But what remained with me of this singular novel is a powerful sense of the Houllebecquian mood, which the critic Paul Berman once characterized as ‘depressive lucidity,’ and which here consists of a heightened awareness of the impoverishment of everyday life and its landscape, along with a dammed-up pool of heartbreak.” —Judith Shulevitz, The New York Times Book Review
"Michel Houellebecq is the most interesting, provocative and important European novelist of my generation. Period. No one else comes close. He has written two or maybe three great books, and his latest, The Map and the Territory, is one of them." –Bret Easton Ellis
“A serious reflection on art, death, and contemporary society, The Map and the Territory is a tour de force….It is part crafty page-turner, part sociological inquiry, part satire, part mystery novel, part artist’s biography. In its seamless collage of artful pastiche, the novel captures with perfect irony the tone and texture of twenty-first-century discourses, from Wikipedia articles to operating instructions, from tacky pop songs to pompous art reviews in Le Monde. In the process, it offers original insights into the museumification of contemporary France, the eerie coincidence between art and death, an exegesis of socialist writer William Morris, and meditation on art as a practice, a produce, and a business.” – Cecile Alduy, The Los Angeles Review of Books
“Deeply amusing… A book of supreme importance, this is not to be missed.” —Library Journal
“Deadpan funny... A brilliantly astute work of social critique.” —Publishers Weekly
“A revelation for all who follow the controversial French novelist, whether they love him or loathe him.... Here he achieves a richness and resonance beyond his previous work ... a tender romance, a meditation of the function and value of art and a police procedural.... Very smart, very moving and occasionally very funny.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“A trenchant, sharp-tongued social commentator.... What kept me reading is Houellebecq’a scratchy, uncomfortable mind, his catalogue of hatreds and aversions, and the flurries of inventiveness and invective they inspire.” – Laura Kipnes, Bookforum
Praise from the UK:
“Beautifully, accurately translated.... Accessible and highly enjoyable. If ever there was a novelist for our globally dysfunctional times it’s Michel Houellebecq.... Long cast aside as the bad boy of books, [his] latest novel has seen him brought in from the cold, and embraced by the literary establishment for what he’s always been – not much short of a genius.” —The Mirror (4-star book of the week)
“One of the most important facts about Michel Houellebecq...is that he is a first-rate prose stylist….This novel was awarded the Prix Goncourt in 2010 and now, as it finally arrives in English in a finely nuanced translation by Gavin Bowd, it does not disappoint....Teasing and entertaining.... A page turner.” —Literary Review
“Very likely his best [book] ever, a serious novel about aging and death that also employs its author’s trademark lugubrious wit towards some delicious exercises in satire and self-parody.... A challenging, mature and highly intelligent book.” —The Daily Telegraph
“This is the brilliant and controversial French writer’s most intellectually ambitious book.... Funny, astonishing and authoritative.” —The Guardian
“A dark master of invention.... In a world of copycatting and fakery, Michel Houellebecq is an exceptional writer and a stand-out original.” —Evening Standard
“An astonishing writer.... The Map and the Territory is funny, shocking, brutal and unbearably poignant.... Sublime.” —Scotland on Sunday
“All novelists everywhere have benefited from [Houellebecq’s] audacity. Like Flaubert with Madame Bovary, Lawrence with Lady Chatterley’s Lover or William Burroughs with Naked Lunch, his temerity has recharged the form and reminded people what the novel can do and what latent, incendiary power it has at its disposal.” —The Sunday Times
“A great read.... A wonderfully strange and subversive enterprise.” —The Guardian
About the Author
Already honored with the Prix Novembre and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Michel Houellebecq won the Prix Goncourt for The Map and the Territory in 2010.See all Product description
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But don't purchase The Map and the Territory unless you are up to the challenge. The pace isn't rapid (until Part Three with its sudden twist) ) but the book is ultimately satisfying, meandering through themes of life and death, relationships between fathers and sons, and even police procedures.
The First and Second parts of the book center primarily on Jed Martin, an artist, and his creative evolution. Jed comes across as rather detached and not particularly fond of the human race. At one point he even thinks " They don't really amount to much, anyway, human relationships."
But his views are radically challenged when he happens across a Michelin map of The Creuse and the Haut-Vienne areas. The map allows Jed to think of the people living in the towns and homes represented in small scale on the map but somehow more real to him than the individuals he encounters in his daily life.
And so begins his obsession with Michelin maps and also his journey towards artistic fame. The obsession won't last but affords the opportunity to describe the art word and what causes various types of art to grab public attention.
Jed also meets Michael Houllebecq (yes, the same name as the author) and asks him to write the text for one of Jed's exhibit catelogues. I couldn't help wondering how much of Houllebecq's character in the book was based on reality and what was fiction, although clearly certain parts have to be fictionalized ( you'll understand once you read the book).
After a comparatively slow first two sections, Part Three suddenly ramps up the tension with a murder, a twist I didn't see coming and the rest of the novel centers on the investigation along with a continuing theme....Jed's complicated relationship with his father.
A certain percentage of readers may be put off by the rather dark tone in much of this work. It could hardly be called a cheery book. But it makes up for the somber mood by compelling readers to think about life, death, relationships, and meaning - with a jaunt through the art world. There is far more here, impossible to describe in one review, but ultimately resulting in a richly detailed, complex, and fulfilling work.
I read The Map and the Territory because Jeffrey Eugenides admitted *he* was reading in in a NYT interview.
No surprise why masterful American novelists would want to read this. The author, Michel Houellebecq, is unabashedly and unashamedly literary and intellectual. No doubt there's a certain penis envy in admiring a Gallic author who can be so brazen as to simply drop trou and masturbate with his mind for us all to watch. Those of us on this side of the pond who fret about novels and commercialism and fads and attention spans and the general lack of receptiveness for ideas must surely Jones for the opportunity to wax philosophical and not only get away with it, but also actually sell books.
a cool tonic for these bewildering times. The Detective Story contained within ranks, easily, amongst the best detective fiction I've read. As wonderful as, but very different from, "Submission". For the full Houellebecq experience, please watch the movie "The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq".
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