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  • Bienvenue sur le site de l'Institut Français d'Afrique du Sud !

"The Map and the Territory", Michel Houellebecq's last novel, waits for you at Dibuka in French and English!

Michel Houellebecq embodies a strange paradox among French contemporary writers. Hated and despised by artistic elites  for his alleged "lack of style" and "intellectual void" - he even published a book on the topic called "Public Enemies", along with Bernard-Henri Levi, another controversial figure - he remains, novel after novel, a best-selling author in France and abroad. This contradictory fate finally seemed to turn for the better in 2010 when the writer was awarded the prestigious Prix Goncourt for "The Map and the Territory", an original, bitter-sweet novel that has just hit the shelves of Dibuka (Johannesburg) in both French and English.

The book's main character is Jed Martin, a famous painter renowned among other things for his "tributes to human labour". His works bear names such as "The Palo Alto conversation", where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates discuss the future of the computer science, or "Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst sharing the art market", where the two contemporary masters evoke their respective clients. Despite his fame and fortune, Jed cannot help to feel unsatisfied about life - but, as a genuine Houellebecq's character, cannot explain why. His father death and other minor events will inexorably encourage Jed to think about his past and reconsider his present...

Houellebecq is at his best here, writing in his inimitable style made of detachment and irony counterbalanced by subtle touches of brief but always pertinent philosophical remarks. "The Map and the Territory" is a book about art, money and death set in a contemporary France reduced to an open-air museum ; a must-read for any one wishing to have fun - and, incidentally, to get to know one of France's best contemporary writer.


Books - Dibuka

  • 2020-dibuka-re-open3

    Dibuka is reopening, by appointment only!

    The Francophone multimedia library Dibuka is slowly reopening, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, by appointment only. And because we've missed you so much, we, at the French Institute and the Alliance Française of Johannesburg, have prepared some surprise bags for you! SURPRISE BAGS AT DIBUKA WHAT ? We… Read more
  • 2020-DibuKlub-online-1stSem-B

    Programme DibuKlub and DibuKids - February to June 2020

    This year will be full of exciting events and activities at Dibuka. With movies twice a month on Wednesdays for adults and cultural activities twice a month on Saturdays for kids, there is something for everybody! Check out the jam-packed programme we've got for you below: Read more
  • 2019-ReadingMachines-PR

    Reading in Digital - New Interactive Literary Experiences

    The Reading in Digital exhibition displays new forms of literary creations through apps on tablets, computers, and illustrated books. Digital literary creations have been booming, in recent years, showing an unprecedented creative dynamism. Authors, editors, producers and designers are today… Read more

Opening Hours

Monday: closed
Tuesday - Wednesday:  
9.30 - 12.30 | 14.00 - 19.30
8.30 - 12.30 | 14.00 - 19.30
9.30 - 12.30 | 14.00 - 18.00
9.30 - 13.30


Tel. (+27) 11 646 1115
Fax. (+27) 11 646 1128

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