Lisa's Reviews > Karte und Gebiet

Karte und Gebiet by Michel Houellebecq
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's review
Jun 27, 2012

really liked it
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This pretty much has to be a joint review for this book and Beigbeder's "ein französischer Roman", since this one compelled me to read the other one, pretty much - I had been ignorant that Beigbeder had written another novel, which Houellebecq helpfully mentions several times, and would never want to miss Beigbeder finally trying to cast a truthful shadow, running down the paths of his descendance from people who eat pate with a fork (eating it on rye is vulgar, it appears), run Zauberberg-like sanatoriums or get killed in WWI, since it is their duty, apparently. It is another self-conscious effort, and charming at that - when Beigbeder talks about his mother at 16, I cannot help but imagine the very young and silky Catherine Deneuve - but he seems still awfully removed from his (scrawny, nose-bleeding, terry-trousered) self while he's trying that - after all the alter ego gets caught trying to re-enact a scene from "Lunar Park", or maybe not removed enough - comparing "ein Französischer Roman" to "Karte und Gebiet", one could never, during a reading of the former forget that the author is talking to us about himself, while, when reading the latter, I had and had to reming myself that Houellebecq was supposedly writing about himself - I guess it is fairly easy to be removed from oneself when one is tired of the world though, as the very quote at the beginning cautions us, and as is just confirmed by the author killing off his very self - in a spectacular murder scene which is as maladroit as the usual, allegorical, usually unintelligible ending to a Houellebecq book - so acutely usually seem his powers of observation and analysis along the way that onr cannot feel but be disappointed, though one really has no right to be disappointed, one feels, because this book is really so good that one would not want to complain about it some twenty pages in.


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