It can be hard to separate an author from his well documented persona (cantankerous and controversial) and it’s even more difficult when he includes himself as a character in his own novel. While he appears in The Map and the Territory Houellebecq is certainly not playing any gimmicky games. Here he manages to engage the reader with his usual biting commentary on humanity and the world we live in; a skewering of the art world, his continued exploration of the highs and lows and strains and strands of relationships, both romantic, familial and professional and all with merely a smattering of misogyny and barely a sex scene to show for it. Art and artists (and writers too) are not perfect, but they can show us the depths of reality with their work. And Houellebecq, as misanthropic as he is, can do that and even create some hard feelings and quality entertainment along the way. I found the book delightful.
I know, right?