Summary

A worldwide phenomenon and the most famous French novelist since Camus, Michel Houellebecq now delivers his magnum opus—a tale of our present circumstances told from the future, when humanity as we know it has vanished. Having made a fortune producing comedies that skewer mankind’s consumerism, religious fundamentalism, sexual profligacy, and other affronts, Daniel is forty before he falls prey to the human condition himself: his beloved’s body sags with age, their marriage dissolves, and true happiness seems a luxury reserved for their dog, Fox. After the colossal failure of his second great love affair, he joins a cult of health fanatics determined to produce a misery-free eternal life—manifested here in the voices of Daniel’s subsequent clones, who enjoy the umpteenth Fox’s companionship but shun the bands of fugitive “humans” on the horizon. Their commentary on Daniel’s fate, and on the race as a whole, illuminates the basic tenets of our existence—laughter, tears, love, remorse—and their nostalgia for such emotions, all of which have long since disappeared. Laugh-out-loud funny, philosophically compelling, and flatly heartbreaking,The Possibility of an Islandis at once an indictment, an elegy, and a celebration of everything we have and are at risk of losing.