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Why can’t he be loved?

Benjamin Kunkel: Houellebecq, 20 October 2011

The Map and the Territory 
by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Gavin Bowd.
Heinemann, 291 pp., £17.99, September 2011, 978 0 434 02141 3
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... now, lay in Whatever, with its colloquial roughness and bratty energy.) It’s too bad, then, that Gavin Bowd’s translation is no more and sometimes less than adequate. The decision not to respect Houellebecq’s punctuation, so that a single flowing sentence in the original will become three abrupt declarations in English, seems a mistake: the ...

Gorilla with Mobile Phone

Theo Tait: Michel Houellebecq, 9 February 2006

Houellebecq non autorisé: enquête sur un phénomène 
by Denis Demonpion.
Maren Sell, 377 pp., €20, August 2005, 2 35004 022 4
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The Possibility of an Island 
by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Gavin Bowd.
Weidenfeld, 345 pp., £12.99, November 2005, 0 297 85098 9
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... Towards the end of Michel Houellebecq’s first novel, Extension du domaine de la lutte (1994), translated into English under the dismal title Whatever (1998), the nameless protagonist falls into a severe depression. He leaves a note on his desk saying ‘I AM SICK,’ and checks himself into a ‘rest home’. Relations with his psychologist are not easy: She took me to task for speaking in general, overly sociological, terms ...

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