Houllebecq's searing critique of his native land

FICTION; Submission; By Michel Houellebecq; Translated by Lorin Stein; William Heinemann, €17.50

27th September, 2015
Michel Houellebecq’s new novel imagines a future France which is ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood

In Arabic, “Islam” means “submission” – “voluntary submission to God,” with added connotations of wholeness, safety, and peace. The word in English resonates rather differently.

When, in 2004, the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh and the Somali dissident Ayaan Hirsi Ali released a short polemical film about the treatment of women in the Islamic world, they called it Submission. Their intention was clear: “submission”, in English, is a posture...

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