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The Map and the Territory

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  6,536 ratings  ·  555 reviews
Having made his name with an exhibition of photographs of Michelin roadmaps – beautiful works that won praise from every corner of the art world – Jed Martin is now emerging from a ten-year hiatus. And he has had some good news. It has nothing to do with his broken boiler, the approach of another lamentably awkward annual Christmas dinner with his father or the memory of h ...more
Hardcover, 269 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2010)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”I’ve known several guys in my life who wanted to become artists, and were supported by their parents; not one of them managed to break through. It’s curious, you might think that the need to express yourself, to leave a trace in the world, is a powerful force, yet in general that’s not enough. What works best, what pushes people most violently to surpass themselves, is still the pure and simple need for money.”

 photo JeffKoons_zpsc6fe1534.jpg
Jeff Koons has made himself an objet d’art.

Whenever Jed Martin calls his agent and s
Just finished the last thirty wonderfully flowing and surprising pages that end with the total domination of vegetation and then went back to the first lines namedropping Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst and said aloud "Ha, what a great book." I love how clearly he writes, with such unexpected analysis/insight, exaggerated generalizations asserted as truth (although toned down in this one -- not as much potentially politically incorrect stuff in general, and certainly not as much sex as the last two) ...more
OK, if I have to be completely blunt, Michel Houellebecq must be the most overrated contemporary author since Amelie Nothomb. The Map and the Territory has received so much publicity in the last year or two, and I’ve come across the title in news and write-ups so many times, not to mention enthusiastic comments I’ve overheard during social occasions, that it seemed like I am missing out on something big out there. Not only did the book seem to be in the cultural news every other day or something ...more
Mar 10, 2012 Tony rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: french
It was public knowledge that Houellebecq was a loner with strong misanthropic tendencies: it was rare for him even to say a word to his dog.

Martin Amis did it before, in Money, when he introduced himself, 'Martin Amis', as a character in the book. Houellebecq replays the conceit here, with a similar pretension and expanded role for himself. In the spirit of literary self-flagellation, in addition to the epitaph offered above, Houellebecq does horrible things to himself. I would be plot-spoiling
His best novel. The themes are basically the same, but Michel Houellebecq tells the tale again with great energy and in a large tongue in cheek manner. On one level it is about the rise of an artist who doesn't really want to participate in the art market. He has nothing against it, but his character is not one where he follows the market place. Yet he's extremely successful in what he does. The other textual parts are Houellebecq's fascination with what people do on their 'free' time - the need ...more
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 commercial
Shota Gagarin
ალბათ მიშელ უელბეკი უკანასკნელი დიდი ფრანგი მწერალია. მეტიც, არა მგონია, მაგის შემდეგ რომელიმე დასავლეთ ევროპელის ნააზრევი იყოს ასეთი მყარი არგუმენტი ადამიანთა მოდგმის უბადრუკობის შესახებ. უელბეკი ამ საქმეში რუსოზე წინ წავიდა. თუ ეს უკანასკნელი სულიერი ჰარმონიის დასაბრუნებლად ადამიანს ბუნებას უსახავდა ერთადერთ შესაძლო ალტერნატივად, უელბეკმა ბუნების წიაღიც კი ჩაკეტა ადამიანისთვის და გვაგრძნობინა, რომ ჰარმონია მხოლოდ იქ არის, სადაც ჩვენ არ ან აღარ ვართ.
უელბეკი დიდი მწერალია, რადგან დიდი მწერალი სა
الخريطة والأرض

لسنوات كنت أرى رواية ميشيل ويلبيك (احتمال جزيرة) على رفوف المكتبات وأتجاوزها، ولكني حصلت على كتابه هذا مدفوعاً بنيله جائزة الغونكور، نعم !! من السخف أن ندعي أن الجوائز لا تؤثر على قراراتنا، كل ما في الأمر هو أننا نفقد الثقة بجائزة ما، عندما نكتشف أنها منحت لأعمال ضعيفة فنياً – البوكر العربي كمثال -.

بدأ ويلبيك الكتابة لينتشل نفسه من الاكتئاب، كتب الشعر أولاً، ومن ثم الرواية، حتى جذب الاهتمام بروايته (المنصة) – لم تترجم إلى العربية -، والتي هاجمته بسببها منظمات إسلامية، رأت في رواي
Marc Nash
Michel Houellebecq is the subversive satirist supreme. The diffident misanthrope who takes humanity to task for our natures, our systems, our ridiculous aspirations and our delusions. But he does so with light touch. He doesn't have to beat us around the head with our own foolish failings.

Jed Martin is an artist of some repute. The one layer he misses on his palette is an ability with words, so he seeks after commissioning one Michel Houellebecq to write the programme notes for his upcoming exhi
Debía llevar más de un lustro quejándome que Michel Houellebecq se repetía más que el ajo, que siempre hacía la misma novela y que parecía que escribiera con el piloto automático, casi como si estuviera parodiando la imagen pública de si mismo, repitiendo hasta la extenuación una fórmula que parecía funcionarle sin aportar nada nuevo. Así que os podréis imaginar cuál fue mi excitación cuando empezaron a salir críticas de ‘El mapa y el territorio’ que lo ponían por las nubes, diciendo que Houelle ...more
Finally a map of Houellebecq territory.
When I read 'Plateforme' some years ago, I dismissed Houellebecq as being overrated, and a misogynist, but I've changed my mind after reading La Carte et le Territoire. There are some very original plot details, interesting takes on photography and contemporary art, a bit of a meander on architecture and plenty of information on cartography for anyone, like me, who loves maps. But the most amazing thing is, that in spite of a main character who is very unch
the bitter frenchman solidifies himself as one of my favourite authors. countless vicious soundbites that i had a lot of fun with on twitter --

"They really don't amount to much, anyway, human relationships."
"flowers are only sexual organs, brightly coloured vaginas decorating the surface of the world, open to the lubricity of insects"
"What can you reply, in general, to human questions?"
"it was conceivably true, he thought, that France was a marvelous country - at least from the tourist's point
houellebecq is a supreme market analyst, not shying away from drawing a trendline even if it's more based on cynicism than data:
They had several happy weeks. It was not, it couldn't be, the exacerbated, feverish happiness of young people, and it was no longer a question for them in the course of a weekend to get plastered or totally shit-faced; it was already -- but they were still young enough to laugh about it -- the preparation for that epicurean, peaceful, refined but unsnobbish happiness t
Frankly I read this because my 16-year old did, and considering the negative buzz surrounding Houellebecq I was wondering if she was polluting her beautiful young mind with misogynist pornography. I didn’t expect to like it. So it is with surprise that I bestow 5 stars upon it. A wonderful book - rich, true and wickedly funny.

Now that I’ve looked into Houellebecq a bit more I see this was maybe an odd place to start; his other, more misanthropic, sexually-charged books are what got him all the
Frédéric Bey
A chaque nouveau roman, Houellebecq me surprend. Il n’écrit jamais ce que je pense qu’il va nous offrir, tout en faisant chaque fois la preuve de plusieurs constantes : une lucidité « visionnaire » sur notre époque, un humour aussi discret que décapant, un pertinence et une cohérence sur le fond, derrière l’histoire a proprement parler. Cette fois il est question à la fois d’art, de relation père/fils, de la mort et de la transmission, avec un belle métaphore : celle de la cartographie, du terri ...more
As usual I have mixed feelings about Michel Houellebecq's latest offering. His dispassionate stance about almost everything allows for sweeping generalisations about art and western culture that are challenging and interesting, but he also seems disinterested in bothering to craft a cohesive plot. I'm sure that I miss lots of things in his books, but can't escape the feeling that this is because he just can't be bothered illuminating some things enough.

None of this stops me from being intrigued
The third section initially gave me pause. It could've been mishandled. I had previously read a review in the UK press and was aware of this turn. The novel as with most of Houellebecq's other work is a chilling portrait of our reality, our naked humanity isn't what we'd hope for, it is slithering that way regardless.
Lisa Lieberman
Too cold for my taste but terribly clever. I found his worldview coloring my own, which is a mark of how absorbing a writer Houellebecq is. I'm sure I would have enjoyed him more in my younger years, but I've become more generous in my late fifties, tend to cut characters more slack.
David Ramirer
houellebecq erzählt in diesem roman die lebensgeschichte eines künstlers, der im laufe seiner karriere einige metamorphosen durchlebt, dabei die erwartbaren enttäuschungen, irrungen und entwicklungen.

mit viel humor und vorstellungskraft schildert houllebecq künstlerische denkweisen und damit einhergehende geographische, soziologische, architektonische und wirtschaftliche bezüge, die den künstler beschäftigen. auch er selbst, der schriftsteller darf als beruf in dem buch auftreten: der bildende k
Ο Μισέλ Ουελμπέκ, ο πιο διάσημος και ο πιο μισητός συγγραφέας στην Γαλλία τη σήμερον ημέρα. Πράγματα που μικρή σημασία έχουν όταν μιλάμε για έναν πραγματικά καλό συγγραφέα: έχει όραμα, έχει στυλ και όταν τελειώνεις ένα του βιβλίο θες να ξεκινήσεις το επόμενο.

Δύο πράματα τον διακρίνουν: η καυστικότητά του, ένας τρόπος να κάνει χιούμορ τραχύ και παιγνιώδες. Για το οποίο έχει κατηγορηθεί για μισογυνισμό, ρατσισμό, αντισημιτισμό. Είναι προβοκάτορας, σίγουρα. Μα πέρα από αυτό, δεν βλέπω κάτι πέραν απ
In questo romanzo diviso in tre parti, Michel Houellebecq narra con insolita compostezza le vicende dell’artista visivo Jed Martin, la cui opera rappresenta l’era industriale e il suo imminente declino. Jed vive isolato dagli altri esseri umani, che non frequenta, e vede raramente il proprio padre, col quale ha un rapporto evanescente. Incontra il personaggio dello scrittore Houellebecq e raggiunge il proprio apice artistico e commerciale, ma nulla cambia il suo paesaggio interiore.
Von Tom Sawyer ist mir die Geschichte in Erinnerung geblieben, dass er sich – voller Selbstmitleid – vorgestellt hat, an seiner eigenen Beerdigung teilzunehmen, um endlich einmal zu erfahren, was für ein guter Junge er war. Selbst Tante Polly konnte sich nur an ihn als „ihren Lieblingsneffen“ erinnern. Die Geschichte ist klasse, aber eben nur einmal.

Trotzdem versucht Houellebecq es erneut. Und da er – im Gegensatz zu Tom Sawyer – keine fiktive Persönlichkeit ist, wird es eben auch doppelt peinl
La bellezza dei fiori è triste perché i fiori sono fragili, e destinati a morire, come ogni cosa sulla terra naturalmente, ma essi in particolare, e come per gli animali il loro cadavere non è che una grottesca parodia del loro essere vitale, e come quello degli animali puzza.

La carta e il territorio non è un romanzo. E' un'opera d'arte concettuale. Un'opera d'arte contemporanea apparentemente insensata un po' come, mesi fa, ho definito lo stesso Infinite jest di Wallace.
Poniamo il caso Houelleb
Houellebecq's The Elementary Particles remains the last book by a new author that completely impressed me, and I read that in 2000. Houellebecq's unique synthesis of vulgarity, pathos, mockery and sublimity thoroughly captured the moment for me. It was the last time I felt something genuinely new. (James Wood's recent review in the New Yorker, where he negatively re-evaluated Houellebecq's original famed novel, struck me as, well, missing the point.)

I haven't really loved any of Houellebecq's no
Bro_Pair أعرف
Still not sure if Houellebecq thinks Jed Martin's art is any good...probably irrelevant. The market has decided it is! Yeah, it's a very good book. IN a world where any kind of human comfort is the exception, or, in the case of the Detective, some kind of homey surrender, in a world where euthanasia is now more popular than sex (Houellebecq has a euthanasia clinic and a brothel on the same street; no wonder to which one he depicts all the boomers as heading), then maybe only work, and a fair app ...more
Sam Quixote
The Prix Goncourt must be France’s version of the Booker Prize because “The Map and The Territory” won it last year and, reading it this year, I get the same feeling of tiredness and boredom when reading a Booker Prize winner. This is strange too because I was looking forward to this one having loved Houellebecq’s previous books “Platform” and “Lanzarote” (granted, “Possibility of an Island” was near unreadable but I was willing to let bygones be bygones) so it was with some measure of disappoin ...more
I think the only two authors currently writing stuff worth reading are Murakami and Houellebecq.

The majority of American writers seem to be priviliged white males fixated on whether their character's wife is cheating on them and/or can they get away with cheating on her. And the answer is, nobody cares.

I care even less about the nostalgic rubbish British writers can't seem to get enough of (even more white, equally male (technically) and much more priviliged).

In this very funny book, Houellebecq
It is about loneliness. Not like, my wife left me loneliness (though that is in there), the kind of loneliness that you might experience at death or the old cliche "we are all alone on this blue ball". I guess it is a kind of heavy loneliness. Quite subtle writing and nothing too grandiose, however, probably one of the best living authors I have read in awhile, though Cormac McCarthy is soon to be read; (I have not read many living authors because they are garbage and ironic posturing/narcissist ...more
Sorin Hadârcă
Ăsta-i un wow de zile mari. Un roman sută la sută închegat, o viziune completă asupra lumii în care trăim cu mizeriile şi tainele ei. Cred că Houellebecq a găsit cheia de la dulapul cu scheleţi ai civilizaţiei occidentale şi abia aştept să mă cufund într-o carte nouă de-a dânsului.
My first Houellebecq, and certainly not my last. I know the standard criticisms, and could detect the odd whiff of misogyny, but was won over by the insight, the humour and the self-paraody. It takes about 30-50 pages to hit its stride, but persist and the rewards are worth it.
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Michel Houellebecq (born Michel Thomas), born 26 February 1958 (birth certificate) or 1956 on the French island of Réunion, is a controversial and award-winning French novelist. To admirers he is a writer in the tradition of literary provocation that reaches back to the Marquis de Sade and Baudelaire; to detractors he is a peddler of sleaze and shock. Having written poetry and a biography of the h ...more
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“The triumph of vegetation is total.” 8 likes
“Life sometimes offers you a chance, he thought, but when you are too cowardly or too indecisive to seize it life takes the cards away; there is a moment for doing things and entering a possible happiness, and this moment lasts a few days, sometimes a few weeks or even a few months, but it happens once and one time only, and if you want to return to it later it's quite simply impossible. There's no more place for enthusiasm, belief, and faith, and there remains just gentle resignation, a sad and reciprocal pity, the useless but correct sensation that something could have happened, that you just simply showed yourself unworthy of this gift you had been offered.” 5 likes
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