Michel Houellebecq’s “The Map and the Territory” published in Persian 

April 19, 2022 - 18:18

TEHRAN – A Persian translation of French author Michel Houellebecq’s 2010 novel “The Map and the Territory” has been published by the Now publishing house in Tehran.

Abolfazl Allahdadi is the translator of the novel, which in 2010 received the Prix Goncourt, the most prestigious French literary prize, on the first ballot with seven votes against two for “Apocalypse Bébé” by Virginie Despentes.

Houellebecq had already been a contender for the Goncourt on two previous occasions. It was the first time since 1980 that the award had gone to a novel published by Flammarion. Houellebecq commented right after the award, “It is a strange feeling, but I am deeply happy.”

The narrative revolves around a successful artist, and involves a fictional murder of Houellebecq. 

“The Map and the Territory” is Houellebecq’s fifth novel. It was published five years after his prior novel, “The Possibility of an Island”. 

“The Map and the Territory” was among the most eagerly awaited and discussed novels of the 2010 literary season in France. The first printing was for 120,000 copies, as announced by the publisher. An English translation by Gavin Bowd was published in January 2012.

The novel tells the story of the life and art of Jed Martin, a fictional French artist who becomes famous by photographing Michelin maps and painting scenes about professional activities. 

His father is slowly entering old age. Jed falls for a beautiful Russian executive from Michelin but the relationship ends when she returns to Russia. Jed becomes extraordinarily successful after a new series of paintings and therefore suddenly rich as the most prominent artist in France around the year 2010. 

He meets Michel Houellebecq in Ireland in order to ask him to write the text for the catalog of one of his exhibitions, and in exchange offers to paint the writer’s portrait.

A few months later Houellebecq is brutally murdered and Jed Martin gets involved in the case.

Photo: Front cover of the Persian translation of Michel Houellebecq’s novel “The Map and the Territory”.


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