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Submission / Michel Houellebecq ; translated from the French by Lorin Stein.

By: Houellebecq, Michel [author.].
Contributor(s): Stein, Lorin [translator.] | Stein, Lorin.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : William Heinemann, 2015Description: 251 pages ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781785150258.Uniform titles: Soumission. English Subject(s): Religions -- Relations -- Fiction | Political campaigns -- France -- Fiction | Political corruption -- France -- Fiction | French fiction -- Translations into EnglishGenre/Form: Political fiction.DDC classification: 843.9/2
Contents:
Translated from the French. -First published in France in 2015 by Flammarion under the title Soumission. In a near-future France, Francois, 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 nineteenth-century novelist and pessimist Joris-Karl Huysmans - has led him nowhere. In a late-capitalist society where consumerism has become the new religion, Francois is spiritually barren, but seeking to fill the vacuum of his existence with something. And he is not alone. As the 2022 Presidential election approaches, two candidates emerge as favourites: 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 Francois, life is set on a new course. Submission is both a devastating satire and a profound and painfully sharp meditation on isolation, faith and love.
Summary: In a near-future France, Francois, 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 nineteenth-century novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans - has led him nowhere. In a late-capitalist society where consumerism has become the new religion, Francois 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 favourites: 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 Francois, life is set on a new course. Submission is both a devastating satire and a profound meditation on isolation, faith and love.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

In a near-future France, Fran ois, 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 nineteenth-century novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans - has led him nowhere. In a late-capitalist society where consumerism has become the new religion, Fran ois 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 favourites- 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 Fran ois, life is set on a new course.

Submission is both a devastating satire and a profound meditation on isolation, faith and love. It is a startling new work by one of the most provocative and prescient novelists of today.

Translated from the French. -First published in France in 2015 by Flammarion under the title Soumission. In a near-future France, Francois, 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 nineteenth-century novelist and pessimist Joris-Karl Huysmans - has led him nowhere. In a late-capitalist society where consumerism has become the new religion, Francois is spiritually barren, but seeking to fill the vacuum of his existence with something. And he is not alone. As the 2022 Presidential election approaches, two candidates emerge as favourites: 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 Francois, life is set on a new course. Submission is both a devastating satire and a profound and painfully sharp meditation on isolation, faith and love.

In a near-future France, Francois, 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 nineteenth-century novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans - has led him nowhere. In a late-capitalist society where consumerism has become the new religion, Francois 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 favourites: 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 Francois, life is set on a new course. Submission is both a devastating satire and a profound meditation on isolation, faith and love.

Translated from the French.

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

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 François, 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). François? 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 Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

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. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Humanity didn't interest me it disgusted me, actually. So announces François, 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 François 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, François 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 François' ideal woman. Is this satire? Submission is well crafted, but the pornographic sex scenes are as tired as their rationale. Houellebecq's faltering is François' 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.--Autrey, Michael Copyright 2015 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

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 Franois 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 inclinedbut 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 bentand this book shares more than a few points with Nineteen Eighty-Fourwho 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 littrature engage. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.