Jan Kubr

A book read: The Possibility of an Island by Michel Houellebecq

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2008 at 22:01

Despite many negative thoughts you can find in the book (I’ve quoted quite a few), both main characters keep looking for love.

At first I was angry at Michel. I think it is easy to be depressed and keep finding negative sides of everything. It sucks you have a gorgeous girlfriend because it is harder to keep her and it’ll hurt more when you lose her. It sucks you have a lot of money because everyone will try to be a friend of yours just because of your wealth. It’s easy to depressed and be proud of it. “I’m the educated European who must be critical to appear smart“.

It is not difficult to be over-critical, it is ridiculously easy. Fortunately, Michel goes a bit further. He shows how avoiding having children, social interactions, and emotions would not make people happier. Because there is no happiness if you never experience sadness.

Michel took the current trend (but is it?) of increasing individualism and ‘loving-only-yourself’ attitude to the extreme. The result? People escaping and looking for company and love. So he shows that this is not what people actually want. But does he mean this is where we are heading anyway? Not really. He doesn’t get to the society of lonely individualists by simply extrapolating the current trends, but also by making a science-fiction like jump that is as likely and close in time as humans flying to other galaxies.

Thus I don’t think love is going to get away soon. It’s here and it will be for a while, no matter how silly it might seem to writers being proud of their constant critisism. It’s the essence of life after all. And by the way, looking for love is selfish enough.

And I don’t think people are getting more lonely or individualistic. I think (also) thanks to the Internet there’s as much social interaction as never before. People get more independent, but not isolated.

Try again, Michel.

  1. […] written about Michel Houellebecq’s book The Possibility of an Island before and although I wasn’t too excited about it, I think it’s worth spending the time […]

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