In a near-future France, Franocois, 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 novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans--has led him nowhere. In a late-capitalist society where consumerism has become the new religion, Franocois 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 favorites: 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 Franocois, life is set on a new course.
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
Publisher: Picador USA, November 2016
Publisher Marketing: Publisher Marketing: 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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