Category Archive 'Michel Houellebecq'

07 May 2022

No English Version of New Houellebecq Scheduled

, ,

David Sexton, in the World edition Spectator:

For many years, Michel Houellebecq was patronized by the French literary establishment as an upstart, what with his background in agronomy rather than literature, his miserable demeanor, his predilection for science fiction and his gift for unyieldingly saying the unsayable, especially about relations between the sexes.

That’s all changed now. He won the Prix Goncourt in 2010 for The Map and the Territory and in 2019 was elevated to the Légion d’Honneur. The Nobel cannot be long delayed, the committee after all having honored the equally ornery V.S. Naipaul and J.M. Coetzee.

Houellebecq’s new novel Anéantir, published in January in a luxury edition of 300,000 copies, was a quasi-official event in France, heralded by a reverential two-part interview in Le Monde in which he confided that he was a bit of an alcoholic and quite the tart, since he wrote not for money or applause but to be loved.

Some 736 pages long, Anéantir begins as almost a spy thriller, set around the upcoming election, but then morphs into a study of the treatment of the old and helpless, followed by a harrowing account of fatal illness, alleviated only by the return of conjugal love to a couple long estranged. Houellebecq being Houellebecq, it is specified that the dying man enjoys a dreamy blowjob lasting three hours — but the novel is otherwise chaste and grave, Houellebecq signing off by saying it is time

Yet although widely translated in Europe already, no English version seems yet to be scheduled. That’s a pity, not only because it will appear after the period in which it is set, but it was the enthusiasm of English-language readers that did much to compel French critics to acknowledge that Houellebecq was, whether they liked it or not, their writer with most impact internationally. …

Dozy publishers we have.


They aren’t dozy. They are obviously cancelling Houellebecq because though he’s a great writer, he’s reactionary.

05 Jul 2018

Žižek on Houellebecq

, , , ,

Michel Houellebecq

Slawomir Sierakowski interviewing Slavoj Žižek back in 2015 after the Charlie Hebdo murders.

Do you see common ground between you and Michel Houellebecq, with his critique of Western liberal societies, combined with no justification for reactionary alternatives like Islamist or Russian ones?

Yes, definitely. Crazy as it may sound, I have much respect for the honest liberal conservatives like Houellebecq, Finkielkraut, or Sloterdijk in Germany. One can learn from them much more than from progressive liberal like Habermas: honest conservatives are not afraid to admit the deadlock we are in. Houellebecq’s Atomised is for me the most devastating portrait of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. He shows how permissive hedonism turns into the obscene superego universe of the obligation to enjoy. Even his anti-Islamism is more refined than it may appear: he is well aware how the true problem is not the Muslim threat from the outside, but our own decadence. Long ago Friedrich Nietzsche perceived how Western civilization was moving in the direction of the Last Man, an apathetic creature with no great passion or commitment. Unable to dream, tired of life, he takes no risks, seeking only comfort and security, an expression of tolerance with one another:

    A little poison now and then: that makes for pleasant dreams. And much poison at the end, for a pleasant death. They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures for the night, but they have a regard for health. “We have discovered happiness,” — say the Last Men, and they blink.


10 Jun 2018

Houellebecq Says

, , ,

21 May 2017

Why Modern Western Man Doesn’t Care About Having Children

, ,

Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles:

Children existed solely to inherit a man’s trade, his moral code and his property. This was taken for granted among the aristocracy, but merchants, craftsmen and peasants also bought into the idea, so it became the norm at every level of society. That’s all gone now: I work for someone else, I rent my apartment from someone else, there’s nothing for my son to inherit. I have no craft to teach him, I haven’t a clue what he might do when he’s older. By the time he grows up, the rules I lived by will have no value—he will live in another universe. If a man accepts the fact that everything must change, then he accepts that life is reduced to nothing more than the sum of his own experience; past and future generations mean nothing to him. That’s how we live now. For a man to bring a child into the world now is meaningless.

Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted in the 'Michel Houellebecq' Category.

Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark