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Submission
by Michel Houellebecq and Lorin Stein


Overview -

A controversial, intelligent, and mordantly funny new novel from France's most famous living literary figure

It's 2022. Francois is bored. He's a middle-aged lecturer at the New Sorbonne University and an expert on J. K. Huysmans, the famous nineteenth-century Decadent author.  Read more...


 
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    Submission (Paperback)
    Published: 2016-10-25
    Publisher: Picador USA
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More About Submission by Michel Houellebecq; Lorin Stein
 
 
 
Overview

A controversial, intelligent, and mordantly funny new novel from France's most famous living literary figure

It's 2022. Francois is bored. He's a middle-aged lecturer at the New Sorbonne University and an expert on J. K. Huysmans, the famous nineteenth-century Decadent author. But Francois's own decadence is considerably smaller in scale. He sleeps with his students, eats microwave dinners, rereads Huysmans, queues up YouPorn.

Meanwhile, it's election season. And although Francois feels "about as political as a bath towel," things are getting pretty interesting. In an alliance with the Socialists, France's new Islamic party sweeps to power. Islamic law comes into force. Women are veiled, polygamy is encouraged, and Francois is offered an irresistible academic advancement--on the condition that he convert to Islam.

Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker has said of Submission that "Houellebecq is not merely a satirist but--more unusually--a sincere satirist, genuinely saddened by the absurdities of history and the madnesses of mankind." Michel Houellebecq's new book may be satirical and melancholic, but it is also hilarious, a comic masterpiece by one of France's great novelists.

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Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780374271572
  • ISBN-10: 0374271577
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publish Date: October 2015
  • Page Count: 256


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-07-20
  • Reviewer: Staff

It’s hard to overstate the controversy that has hounded Houellebecq’s Submission since its publication in France—which coincided with the attacks on the office of Charlie Hebdo—and the persistent accusations of Islamophobia might well color the reception of the English-language translation (by Lorin Stein of the Paris Review). This would be a travesty. The novel’s moral complexity, concerned above all with how politics shape—or annihilate—personal ethics, is singular and brilliant. An expert on the works of J.K. Huysmans, François is a lonely professor at a semi-prestigious Paris university; subsisting on frozen dinners and occasional sex, he is politically indifferent. Nonetheless, he is forced to take notice when the Muslim Brotherhood, under the leadership of the charismatic Mohammed Ben Abbes, comes to power in an electoral coup. François’s colleagues scramble to adapt to (or resist) the now non-secular university’s policies, as women are excluded from teaching and a Muslim-friendly president is installed. François travels to the monastery where Huysmans himself took refuge, knowing that if he returns to Paris, he will find a changed country. Eventually, he will have to reckon with his own convictions or join the bulk of his fellow intellectuals in convenient conversion to the new regime. This novel is not a paranoid political fantasy; it merely contains one. Houellebecq’s argument becomes an investigation of the content of ideology, and he has written an indispensable, serious book that returns a long-eroded sense of consequence, immediacy, and force to contemporary literature. Agent: Francois Samuelson, Intertalent. (Oct.)

 
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