Sunday, February 1, 2015

the last book I ever read (Michel Houellebecq's The Map and the Territory, excerpt one)

from The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq:

“I’m preparing a solo exhibition in the spring,” he finally announced. “Well, in fact it’s dragging on a bit. Franz, my gallerist, wants a writer for the catalogue. He thought of Houellebecq.”

“Michel Houellebecq?”

“Do you know him?” asked Jed, surprised. He would never have suspected that his father was still interested in anything cultural.

“There’s a small library in the nursing home; I’ve read two of his novels. He’s a good author, it seems to me. He’s pleasant to read, and he has quite an accurate view of society. Has he agreed to do it?”

“No, not yet …” Jed was now thinking as fast as he could. If someone as deeply paralyzed in such a hopeless and mortal routine, someone as far down the path of darkness, down the Valley of the Shadow of Death, as his father was had noticed Houellebecq’s existence, it was because there had to be something compelling about this author. He then remembered that he had failed to get in touch with Houellebecq by e-mail, as Franz had asked him to do several times already. And time was pressing. Given the date of Art Basel and the Frieze Art Fair, the exhibition had to be organized by April, or May at the latest, and you could hardly ask Houellebecq to write a catalogue text in a fortnight. He was a famous writer, world-famous even, at least according to Franz.

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