lunes, 16 de noviembre de 2015

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

Submission, by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Lorin Stein (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) 

With all eyes on Paris following the almost unspeakably horrific events of Friday night, Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel, Submission, seems to be the book of the day. 

Set in a dystopian near-future (the not-so-far year 2022), the book details a bleak Parisian scene in which the city and France as a whole have been quietly Islamized, with a “Muslim Fraternity” candidate acceding to the highest office. 

The universities close for a short period of time after the election and then reopen with a new mandate for professors. They are either to accept early retirement or convert to Islam. The latter choice also comes with an attendant tripling of salary, funded by the Gulf States. Thusly France slides into a sort of soft Islamism: alcohol officially prohibited but not unavailable and polygamy encouraged and practiced widely. 

Writing in our February 2015 issue on the book (then only available in French), Anthony Daniels called it “far from a crude anti-Islamic polemic. . . . It is rather a meditation . . . on the state of Western civilization and what makes that civilization vulnerable to attack from so intellectually nugatory a force as Islamism, which, by all reasonable standards, has nothing of any value whatever to say to the inhabitants of the twenty-first century.” —BR

Source: The New Criterion's weekly preview of everything to read, see, and hear in the world of culture.

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