chapter  4
38 Pages

Islands of Doubles

WithEran Dorfman

The double may provide access to reality but it may also imprison one in a narcissistic fantasy. Even if the two bodies are still young, they cannot be satisfied with each other since they know how transient life is, and they will sooner or later turn toward other attractive bodies to maximize their gains while it is still possible. Whereas in Romantic and gothic literature the double comes as a surprise, an unexpected danger that appears out of the blue to the self-assured protagonist, Houellebecq’s characters are shaken and destabilized from the outset. When they meet their doubles, they are thus merely surprised, as if they already knew they were not sovereign and unique subjects in the world. Jean Baudrillard claims in his Simulacra and Simulation that the real in our days has disappeared in favor of its imitation in the form of simulacra.