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Submission by Michel Houellebecq
  

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The new novel by the enfant terrible of European writing proves as controversial as its much-debated predecessors and will have readers and critics arguing for ages yet again. The as-ever-Houellebecq-like alter ego narrator is a minor middle-aged academic whose weasely ways are familiar in his politically incorrect attitudes to women, race and a form of intellectual superiority and pretentions that are terribly French. When a pro-Muslim politician wins the elections, and the country is overtaken by a revolutionary wave of Islamic fervour and purges, he is unable to retreat from his studies of a particularly arcane figure of French literature Joris K. Huysmans and soon has to take a stand, and willingly embraces the betrayal of western ideals with abandon, insofar as it will lead to professional advancement beyond his worth and possible power over women he was previously unable to seduce and obtain. A striking portrait in cowardice and compromise that will have you squirming, stylishly rendered by Paris Review editor Lorin Stein's fluid translation that transforms the mechanics of a particularly Gallic political landscape and cultural background into something more universal and understandable, and turns the book into a worrying warning bell, behind the facade of its dislikable and treacherous hero of sorts. A book you'll love to hate. ~ Maxim Jakubowski

If you like Michel Houellebecq you might also like to read books by Bret Easton Ellis, Adam Thirlwell and Ewan Morrison.

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Synopsis

Submission by Michel Houellebecq

In a near-future France, Francois, a middle-aged academic, is watching his life slowly dwindle to nothing. His sex drive is diminished, his parents are dead, and his lifelong obsession - the ideas and works of the nineteenth-century novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans - has led him nowhere. In a late-capitalist society where consumerism has become the new religion, Francois is spiritually barren, but seeking to fill the vacuum of his existence. And he is not alone. As the 2022 Presidential election approaches, two candidates emerge as favourites: Marine Le Pen of the Front National, and Muhammed Ben Abbes of the nascent Muslim Fraternity. Forming a controversial alliance with the mainstream parties, Ben Abbes sweeps to power, and overnight the country is transformed. Islamic law comes into force: women are veiled, polygamy is encouraged and, for Francois, life is set on a new course. Submission is both a devastating satire and a profound meditation on isolation, faith and love. It is a startling new work by one of the most provocative and prescient novelists of today.


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Reviews

'A work of real literary distinction...[Houellebecq] has been the novelist who has most fearlessly and presciently tackled the rise of Islamic extremism in recent years...He is a writer with a gift for telling the truth, unlike any other in our time - I've been consistently saying he is the writer who matters most to me for many years now. I've read Submission twice in the last week with ever growing admiration and enjoyment. There's been no English-language novel this good lately. With Submission Houellebecq has inserted himself right into the centre of the intellectual debate that was already raging in France about Islam and identity politics...There is nobody else writing now more worth reading.' -- David Sexton Evening Standard

'The narration is enjoyably sardonic, a pungent mixture of deadpan jokes about sexual politics and close reading...Darkly clever and funny.' Guardian

'A fine, deeply literary work...It is genuinely more admiring than critical of Islam...It's electrifying; no recent English-language novel compares.' Spectator

'A diligent, even-tempered novel of ideas.' New Statesman

'Extraordinary... if there is anyone in literature today, not just in French but worldwide, who is thinking about the sort of enormous shifts we all feel are happening, it's him.' -- Emmanuel Carrere Le Monde

About the Author

Michel Houellebecq
Michel Houellebecq lives in County Cork, Ireland. He is the bestselling author of Atomised, Platform, Lanzarote and Whatever. He is also a poet, essayist and rap artist.

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Book Info

Publication date

10th September 2015

Author

Michel Houellebecq

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Author's Website

www.houellebecq.info/

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Publisher

William Heinemann Ltd an imprint of Cornerstone

Format

Hardback
256 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781785150241

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