The Possibility of an Island

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File:Possibility of an island.jpg
Cover of the UK hardcover edition of The Possibility of an Island

The Possibility of an Island (French: La Possibilité d'une île) is a 2005 novel by French novelist Michel Houellebecq, set within a cloning cult that resembles the real-world Raëlians.[1][2]

Plot summary

There are three main characters, Daniel, and two of his clones.

Daniel is a successful comedian who can't seem to enjoy life despite his wealth. He gets bored with his hedonist lifestyle, but can't escape from it either. In the meanwhile he is disgruntled with the state of current society, and philosophizes about the nature of sex and love.

His two clones live an uneventful life as hermits, in a post-apocalyptic future. They live in a time where the human species is on its last legs (alternatively, on its first legs: hunter-gatherer tribes), destroyed by climate change and nuclear war. The two clones are confronted with the life of the first Daniel and have different views about their predecessor. Scattered around are the remnants of tourist resorts, cities and consumer items and some natural humans living in small tribes without any knowledge of the past or of civilization.

Related media

A film based on the novel, La Possibilité d'une île, premiered in France on September 10, 2008. The film was directed by Houellebecq himself.

An excerpt from the novel is featured on the music album Comme si de rien n'était by Carla Bruni (track 2).

In 2009, Iggy Pop released the music album Préliminaires which was based on the novel.


  1. Nouvel Observateur 19 October 2005 Houellebecq, prêtre honoraire du mouvement raëlien
    "A fin de rendre hommage au philosophe Français, Michel Houellebecq, pour son livre "La possibilité d'une île", l'auteur a été nommé prêtre honoraire du mouvement raëlien lors du congrès international raëlien qui s'est tenu à Sierre en Suisse du 6 au 9 octobre dernier, selon un communiqué de presse de Raël, [...] Le roman de Michel Houellebecq, sorti le 31 août, met en scène une secte triomphante, qui ressemble fort à celle des raëliens, alors que l'auteur prédit la mort des grandes religions monothéistes."
  2. Worton, Michael A dog's life (poodles excepted) in The Guardian Saturday October 29, 2005 available online
    "In The Possibility of an Island he once again addresses big ideas, but without giving them big thought or attention. This time the main subjects are mankind's desire for immortality, as made possible by cloning, and, again, human love. [...] He finally discovers a sect, the Elohimites, [..] The Elohimites are based on the Raelians"