Monday, November 7, 2011

Merci, Wiki...

"Ever the deadpan comedian, Michel Houellebecq includes in the acknowledgments of the British edition [translated by Gavin Bowd] of his new novel, a brief but perfectly straight thank-you to Wikipedia. Following the publication of The Map and the Territory in France last year, he was somewhat half-heartedly accused of plagiarising the information website, co-opting material on houseflies, a French town and a hunting activist. At the time – which was before the novel had won the Prix Goncourt – Houellebecq was rather persuasively dismissive about the allegations, retorting that his detractors understood very little about either literature or his writing methods. [...]
     His fifth novel is a wonderfully strange and subversive enterprise, in which a semi-satirical examination of the art world gives way to a gory police procedural, realistic fictional characters mingle with utterly improbable figures who are in fact taken from real life, the author himself makes a low-key entrance and a thoroughly dramatic exit, and subjects under discussion range from the changing nature of the French countryside to the possibility of accurate artistic representations of art and the probability of writing a compelling thriller about radiators." — Alex Clark, Guardian

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