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Submission: A Novel
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Published:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2015
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description

A controversial, intelligent, and mordantly funny new novel from France's most famous literary figure
Paris, 2022. François 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 François'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.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
10/20/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780374714482
ASIN:
B00VE732VM
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Michel Houellebecq. (2015). Submission: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Michel Houellebecq. 2015. Submission: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Michel Houellebecq, Submission: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Michel Houellebecq. Submission: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
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Date Updated:
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title
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fullDescription

A controversial, intelligent, and mordantly funny new novel from France's most famous literary figure
Paris, 2022. François 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 François'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.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Daniel D'Addario, Time
      • content:

        "Submission may be the most relevant book of the year."

      • premium: False
      • source: Karl Ove Knausgaard, The New York Times Book Review
      • content: "Houellebecq is considered a great contemporary author, and one cannot be said to be keeping abreast of contemporary literature without reading his work . . . What prevents me from reading Houellebecq and watching von Trier is a kind of envy -- not that I begrudge them success, but by reading the books and watching the films I would be reminded of how excellent a work of art can be, and of how far beneath that level my own work is."
      • premium: False
      • source: Christian Lorentzen, New York Magazine
      • content: "The political elements of Submission are so comically exaggerated that it's hard to take them very seriously . . . This is the novel's big joke. It's designed to agitate the right by suggesting the right may have a point about the erosion of France's national culture, and to tweak the left by lending ironic credence to the right's fears . . . The only time Houellebecq seems not to be joking is when Francois speaks about literature . . . Whatever it says or doesn't say about Europe and Islam, Submission is a love letter to the novel itself."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from July 20, 2015
        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.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        August 15, 2015
        The controversial pan-European bestseller arrives in English. Houellebecq's (The Map and the Territory, 2012, etc.) newest antihero is a literature professor whose specialty is a writer few Americans and not so many modern French readers know: the pseudonymous J.-K. Huysmans, who wrote the definitive decadent novel, Au rebours, way back in the pre-Proustian, post-impressionist day. That Huysmans turns up less than a dozen words into the narrative is an important cue, for Francois is decadent, too, in the same sense that an overripe cantaloupe is, sliding irreversibly into decay and rot. So are the careerist academics around him, and so are his students, the females among whom he gladly sleeps with when he's not filling his eyes with pornography. Houellebecq's book was implicated in the Charlie Hebdo murders of Jan. 7, the day it was published in France, as an insult to Islam, and indeed Houellebecq paints with the widest brush: in order to fend off a challenge from the right, France's ruling Socialist Party comes to an accommodation with a strict Islamist political faction that accordingly rises to power and immediately fires all professors who aren't Muslim and fundamentally inclined-but rewards converts with multiple veiled wives and salaries triple what the generous French welfare state had already been paying. Adieu Huysmans, bienvenu Al-Fatiha. Houellebecq isn't patently anti-Islamic so much as anti-everyone, a fierce moralist of an Orwellian bent-and this book shares more than a few points with Nineteen Eighty-Four-who finds us all wanting. About the only morally clean character in the book is forced out early on: "But what am I going to do in Israel?" she asks. "I don't speak a word of Hebrew. France is my country." Not anymore, Houellebecq seems to be saying, because of our softness, complacency, and the usual venalities. True, it won't make ISIS's holiday reading list, and it will offend cultural-relativist pieties. Still, though clunky and obvious, it's well worth reading as a modern work of litterature engagee.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        October 15, 2015
        Humanity didn't interest meit disgusted me, actually. So announces Francois, midway through best-selling, controversial French writer Houellebecq's (The Map and the Territory, 2012) latest. Ostensibly about the democratic transformation of France into an Islamic country in 2022, this is instead a study of nihilism, misogyny, and the inadequacies of humanism. While Francois is a successful academic, an authority on nineteenth-century author J. K. Huysmans, he thinks primarily about sex. When France turns Islamic, as a non-Muslim, he can no longer teach, so he takes early retirement. When the suave new university director offers to rehire him if he converts, Francois doesn't hesitate. Why? Because under the new regime, polygamy is encouraged. Hence Houellebecq's title, which is one meaning of the word Islam and a description of the attitude of Francois' ideal woman. Is this satire? Submission is well crafted, but the pornographic sex scenes are as tired as their rationale. Houellebecq's faltering is Francois' failure writ large: the inability to believe there might be any meaning in or meaningful differences between diverse points of view or ways of life.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        September 1, 2015

        This latest novel from the controversial, Prix Goncourt-winning author Houellebecq (The Map and the Territory) may present as futurist/fantasy, but it's not. It begins as academic satire, with narrator Francois, a melancholy middle-aged Huysmans scholar, but soon turns political. In 2022, at the time of national elections, France is a volatile state; the first vote-down is canceled because of assaults on polling places, and the following week the Muslim Brotherhood is swept into power. Soon, women disappear from prominence and begin wearing veils, and polygamy--generally with "selected" wives--becomes common. Moreover, the charismatic Muslim leader Ben Abbes makes rapid progress in forging "Europe" into a Muslim entity embracing Scandinavia, the Baltics, northern Africa, etc. (the United States is barely mentioned here). Francois? He can have a prestigious Sorbonne appointment, but he must convert. Will he? (Hmm, prestigious position, multiple nubile wives....) This is a novel of ideas, offset by ironic humor and generally unsuccessful sex scenes. Readers will not need to be conversant with French literature and metaphysics, the philosophy/religion axis, but it's hard to see one not thus equipped getting through the narrative. VERDICT Compelling--challenging even--for readers looking for a clever book with a philosophical bent and antithetical to, or perhaps an antidote to, beach reading. [See Prepub Alert, 4/20/15.]--Robert E. Brown, Oswego, NY

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        May 15, 2015

        Prix Goncourt winner Houellebecq writes social satire so acidulous that it offends many readers, who see him as brutally misanthropic or culturally insensitive; mostly, he's just baldly observant of human wrongheadedness. His latest, which set off a media firestorm when it appeared in France the day of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, features a fractured election in 2022 France that hands the leader of the putative French Muslim Brotherhood the presidency. Soon, sharia law is imposed, and France's elite (the target here) is only too willing to oblige.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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A controversial, intelligent, and mordantly funny new novel from France's most famous literary figure
Paris, 2022. François 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 François'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,...

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