Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374271572, 256pp.
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
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.