The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq

67%

6 Critic Reviews

Yet the novel is also stunted by Mr. Houellebecq's bleak dogmatism.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

The most celebrated and controversial French novelist of our time now delivers his magnum opus—about art and money, love and friendship and death, fathers and sons.
 
The Map and the Territory is the story of an artist, Jed Martin, and his family and lovers and friends, the arc of his entire history rendered with sharp humor and powerful compassion. His earliest photographs, of countless industrial objects, were followed by a surprisingly successful series featuring Michelin road maps, which also happened to bring him the love of his life, Olga, a beautiful Russian working—for a time—in Paris. But global fame and fortune arrive when he turns to painting and produces a host of portraits that capture a wide range of professions, from the commonplace (the owner of a local bar) to the autobiographical (his father, an accomplished architect) and from the celebrated (Bill Gates and Steve Jobs Discussing the Future of Information Technology) to the literary (a writer named Houellebecq, with whom he develops an unusually close relationship).
 
Then, while his aging father (his only living relative) flirts with oblivion, a police inspector seeks Martin’s help in solving an unspeakably gruesome crime—events that prove profoundly unsettling. Even so, now growing old himself, Jed Martin somehow discovers serenity and manages to add another startling chapter to his artistic legacy, a deeply moving conclusion to this saga of hopes and losses and dreams.
 

About Michel Houellebecq

See more books from this Author
Michel Houellebecq lives in Ireland.
 
Published January 3, 2012 by Vintage. 290 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Map and the Territory
All: 6 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Judith Shulevitz on Jan 13 2012

One thing this novel does not do, surprisingly, is make fun of Martin’s art, though it is savage about most of the rest of the contemporary art world, particularly the celebrities with whom artists mingle.

Read Full Review of The Map and the Territory | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Sam Sacks on Jan 04 2012

Yet the novel is also stunted by Mr. Houellebecq's bleak dogmatism.

Read Full Review of The Map and the Territory | See more reviews from WSJ online

Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Sky Gilbert on Jan 13 2012

Houellebecq is a stylist, and his flawless, analytical prose often features massive, obsessive digressions in which he carefully catalogues scientific, historical or technological information.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Michel Basilieres on Jan 13 2012

The Map and the Territory is as strong as any of his previous novels, and that’s saying a lot.

Read Full Review of The Map and the Territory | See more reviews from National Post arts

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Judith Shulevitz on Jan 15 2012

You definitely get the impression that Houellebecq thinks American thrillers are the representative genre of our age, just as the airports where such novels are sold have become its characteristic architectural form.

Read Full Review of The Map and the Territory | See more reviews from NY Times

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Michel Basilieres on Jan 13 2012

The Map and the Territory is as strong as any of his previous novels, and that’s saying a lot. It’s no surprise that this book caused both delight and fury when it was given the Prix Goncourt in 2010. It deserved it.

Read Full Review of The Map and the Territory | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for The Map and the Territory
75%

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