A NoveleBook - 2015
A controversial, intelligent, and mordantly funny new novel from France's most famous literary figure
Paris, 2022. Fran#65533;ois is bored. He's a middle-aged lecturer at the Sorbonne and an expert on J. K. Huysmans, the famous nineteenth-century "decadent" author. But Fran#65533;ois's own decadence is considerably smaller in scale. He sleeps with his students, eats microwave dinners, reads the classics, queues up YouPorn.
Meanwhile, it's election season. And although Francois feels "about as politicized as a hand 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 condition that he convert to Islam.
Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker has said of this novel 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 Submission may be satirical and melancholic, but it is also hilarious; a comic masterpiece by one of France's great novelists.