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The Map and the Territory
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2012
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Description
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.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
01/03/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307957450
ASIN:
B0050DIWTI
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Michel Houellebecq. (2012). The Map and the Territory. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Michel Houellebecq. 2012. The Map and the Territory. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Michel Houellebecq, The Map and the Territory. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Michel Houellebecq. The Map and the Territory. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
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Date Updated:
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title
The Map and the Territory
fullDescription
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.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Judith Shulevitz, The New York Times Book Review
      • content: "Archly sarcastic, cheerily pedantic, willfully brutal.... But what remained with me of this singular novel is a powerful sense of the Houllebecquian mood, which the critic Paul Berman once characterized as 'depressive lucidity,' and which here consists of a heightened awareness of the impoverishment of everyday life and its landscape, along with a dammed-up pool of heartbreak."
      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal
      • content: "Deeply amusing... A book of supreme importance, this is not to be missed."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "Deadpan funny... A brilliantly astute work of social critique."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus (starred review)
      • content: "A revelation for all who follow the controversial French novelist, whether they love him or loathe him.... Here he achieves a richness and resonance beyond his previous work ... a tender romance, a meditation of the function and value of art and a police procedural.... Very smart, very moving and occasionally very funny."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Mirror (4-star book of the week)
      • content: "Beautifully, accurately translated.... Accessible and highly enjoyable. If ever there was a novelist for our globally dysfunctional times it's Michel Houellebecq.... Long cast aside as the bad boy of books, [his] latest novel has seen him brought in from the cold, and embraced by the literary establishment for what he's always been – not much short of a genius."
      • premium: False
      • source: Literary Review
      • content: "One of the most important facts about Michel Houellebecq...is that he is a first-rate prose stylist....This novel was awarded the Prix Goncourt in 2010 and now, as it finally arrives in English in a finely nuanced translation by Gavin Bowd, it does not disappoint....Teasing and entertaining.... A page turner."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Daily Telegraph
      • content: "Very likely his best [book] ever, a serious novel about aging and death that also employs its author's trademark lugubrious wit towards some delicious exercises in satire and self-parody.... A challenging, mature and highly intelligent book."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Guardian
      • content: "This is the brilliant and controversial French writer's most intellectually ambitious book.... Funny, astonishing and authoritative."
      • premium: False
      • source: Evening Standard
      • content: "A dark master of invention.... In a world of copycatting and fakery, Michel Houellebecq is an exceptional writer and a stand-out original."
      • premium: False
      • source: Scotland on Sunday
      • content: "An astonishing writer.... The Map and the Territory is funny, shocking, brutal and unbearably poignant.... Sublime."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Sunday Times
      • content: "All novelists everywhere have benefited from [Houellebecq's] audacity. Like Flaubert with Madame Bovary, Lawrence with Lady Chatterley's Lover or William Burroughs with Naked Lunch, his temerity has recharged the form and reminded people what the novel can do and what latent, incendiary power it has at its disposal."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Guardian
      • content: "A great read.... A wonderfully strange and subversive enterprise."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 9, 2012
        In his partly satirical new novel (after The Possibility of an Island), Houellebecq takes on the contemporary art world and the role of the artist. The book follows the sensational career of Jed Martin, an emotionally stunted Parisian art photographer turned painter, as he navigates the slick machinery of the art market and fraught relationships with his workaholic father and a bombshell Russian. Art historians' assessments of Martin's work, dealing with industry and professions, are humorously invoked throughout; his work is characterized as "the product of a cold, detached reflection on the state of the world"—a description that might be applied to Houellebecq's own oeuvre. Indeed, Houellebecq appears as a central character after he is hired to write a catalog essay for Martin's exhibition and the two become unlikely friends. The author's self-parody is deadpan funny, playing on his real literary world persona of a misanthropic recluse. But Houellebecq's presence grows tiresome, and with a surprising (if clumsy) plot twist, the book morphs into a grotesque police procedural. Houellebecq is most satisfying when he shines a hostile light on a late-capitalist Western culture sated by consumerism and shorn of meaning. For this reason, his take on the art world rings true, though the meditations on mortality and death are among the more compelling sections, in particular those dealing with Martin's father. Houellebecq mostly avoids the hedonistic shock that has earned him the enfant terrible reputation parodied herein, and despite the novel's self-conscious plot contrivances, it is a brilliantly astute work of social critique.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from December 1, 2011
        A revelation for all who follow the controversial French novelist, whether they love or loathe him. Houellebecq is "a loner with strong misanthropic tendencies," "a tired old decadent" and a "tortured wreck, "who "stank a little, but less than a corpse." At least these are descriptions of a character called "Michel Houellebecq" in the latest novel by the author who shares that name (Platform, 2003, etc.), though the narrative might well inspire readers to temper that caricature of the "real" Houellebecq. Where the novelist has been accused of trafficking in themes such as sex tourism and moral nihilism for shock value, here he achieves a richness and resonance beyond previous work, while continuing to explore free-market economics and how they pertain to artistic value and moral value. The character who shares his name even "seemed happy," shockingly enough, though he keeps his emotional distance from the author, much as he has from readers. Instead, the novel gets deeper beneath the skin of its protagonist, the visual artist Jed Martin, whose career it chronicles from his years as a photographer, whose enlargement of Michelin maps, combined with images from the places mapped, inspire an exhibition titled "THE MAP IS MORE INTERESTING THAN THE TERRITORY." Martin then switches to painting, woodshedding for a decade, emerging with the "Series of Simple Professions," hailed for masterworks such as "Bill Gates and Steve Jobs Discussing the Future of Information Technology" (having destroyed another titled "Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons Dividing Up the Art Market." Somehow, the novel's fictional biography encompasses a tender romance, a meditation on the function and value of art and a police procedural. Both loners, the painter and the novelist, whom Martin commissions to write catalogue copy and whose portrait he paints, feel some affinity for each other, as they suspect that they might be kindred spirits, or even become friends. What they most share, it seems, is "something that did not exist in H Houellebecq, nor in him: a sort of familiarity with life." Very smart, very moving and occasionally very funny.

        (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        August 1, 2011

        A brilliant risk taker unafraid of being distasteful (hey, the French invented the term epater le bourgeoisie), Houellebecq has attracted critical acclaim, controversy, and an intent if not immense audience when published here. This Prix Goncourt-winning novel, which follows the life of artist Jed Martin, should prove more accessible. Martin launches his career with photographs detailing Michelin road maps, then does portraits depicting various professions (one sitter is a writer named Houellebecq), and helps solve a terrible crime while facing up to mortality--his father's and then his own. For your smart crowd.

        Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from January 1, 2012
        Houellebecq (The Possibility of an Island, 2006) has been outraging and galvanizing readers with his meticulously composed, cold-souled novels for the last 12 years. In his latest, winner of France's Prix Goncourt, he addresses the vatic nature of creativity and our ever-expanding definition of art while telling the story of an emotionally shut-down artist, Jed Martin, and a reclusive writer named (what else?) Michel Houellebecq. Jed's inexplicably powerful photographs of old Michelin maps bring him fame, wealth, and love. Brooding and insular, he next embarks on a series of paintings that pay homage to people and their work as the Industrial Revolution gives way to the digital revolution. Jed tracks down despondent and disheveled Michel to ask him to write catalog copy for an upcoming exhibition, thereby initiating a melancholy bond. Up to this point, Houellebecq's novel is supremely ensnaring in its acute and arch dissection of human endeavors elevated and crass, the latter including the tyranny of trends and the so-called free market. Suddenly, things take a macabre turn as we're plunged into an appalling crime scene, which gradually morphs into a disquieting paean to nature's indomitability. Houellebecq's bewitching journey on the river of art to the cave of death and decay is a tale of eviscerating insight, caustic humor, troubling beauty, and haunting provocation.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2012

        Winner of the Prix Goncourt, this deeply amusing novel by Houellebecq (The Elementary Particles) advances the boundaries of fiction. Just as a map shows much more than a simple photo of a place, so this novel shows how fiction can become more real than mere reality. Houellebecq employs the struggle of young French artist Jed Martin to explore the art of life and the life of art, taking him from photography to mapmaking to the painting of telling portraits. Houellebecq himself enters the novel, plays a part, and moves on, ingeniously transforming the plot in a way that evokes Quentin Tarantino's early film From Dusk Till Dawn. The story eventually becomes a direct investigation of the significance of the roles humans inhabit and how change affects them. The incorporation of the ideas of William Morris and the Buddhist practice of sitting with a corpse enliven the protean narrative. VERDICT A book of supreme importance, this is not to be missed. The occasional French phrase, such as a l'ancienne (old-style), may be lost on some American readers, but the ideas are universal.--Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos P.L., CA

        Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

popularity
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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)...
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