« Soumission », the latest novel by Michel Houellebecq, was the object of somber rumors since mid December. It finally came out on ….Wednesday January 7 th, 2015, the same day that Charlie Hebdo caricatured the writer on the cover. And you know the rest of the story….
The next day, his face was on all the newspaper stands (the Kiosks à journaux) around Paris promoting l’Obs, the new magazine born from le Nouvel Observateur. That day, he decided to leave the media scene and go skiing.
I have been trying to evaluate since, what role if any, his book played in the whole drama. It probably is only a coincidence, that he was on the cover of Charlie that very day but his declaration on the cover of l’Obs, « I survived all attacks » sounded like a real mishap the day after…
The book, a 300 pages well written novel, describes the election of a Muslim President in France. Socialists, Centrists and Sarkozists unite in order to defeat the National Front of Marine Le Pen. Thus the new president. As a result the Sorbonne is bought by Saudi Arabia and all the non muslim professors are evicted. Girls are told to wear pants. Houellebecq’s heroe, who teaches Huysmans, leaves Paris. This character seems to only eat Indian and Japanese take out food, drinks and smokes much too much, takes his young students to bed and changes them at the end of every school year. During the holidays, he indulges in all sorts of cheap escort girls. At the end of the book he decides to convert and gets a salary three times larger. His attraction to the muslim religion is to be able to have four wives at the same time.
How seriously can one take Houellebecq and his permanent depression ?
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