022, France elects new president. This is Mohammed Ben Abbes, leader of a Muslim party that unites the majority of votes. That is the starting point of “Submission”, the latest novel by Michel Houellebecq, released Wednesday in bookstores. A controversial book which the author denies any provocation.
For weeks, literary critics and intellectuals questioned the sixth novel by French writer alive the better known abroad. The same who, in 2001, said in 2001 “the most stupid religion is still Islam.”
For the first time, Michel Houellebecq who spoke in a long interview with a journalist from France Culture Sylvain Bourmeau, published Saturday in English in the American literary magazine Paris Review, online in the German newspaper Die Welt and French on the blog of journalist hosted by Mediapart.
“I conduct an acceleration of history but not I can not say that it is a provocation to the extent that I do not say things I think fundamentally false, just to piss. I condense an evolution in my opinion likely, “says the writer about his sixth novel, to be published Wednesday by Flammarion and fired at 150 000.
Prix Goncourt in 2010 also recognizes “use the fact of fear.” “We do not know well what we are afraid, if identity or Muslims. Everything remains in the shadows.”
“Submission” starts at end of the second term of François Hollande, 2022 . In France the political system cracked, the Muslim Brotherhood (the author invented party) beat Le Pen in the second round of presidential elections with a Republican front. The new head of state, Mohammed Ben Abbes, appoint Bayrou prime minister. This is a political implosion without revolution, apparently accepted by the majority.
Assuming that “Muslims were able to agree among themselves (…), it certainly would take decades “so that they come to power in France, concedes the author.
” I tried to put myself in the place of a Muslim, and I’ve realized that they were actually in a completely schizophrenic situation. “
” What could be a Muslim who wants to vote? It is not represented at all. It would be wrong to say that it is a religion that has no political consequences (…). So, in my opinion a Muslim party is an idea that is required, “he Assen .
Having long lived in Ireland, Houellebecq said he was struck “huge changes” in France and West. “It’s one of the reasons that led me to write” this book. But above all, “I had the impression of being an atheist and there I really do not know.”
At first, he says, “the title was Conversion “. The narrator, a specialist university teacher Huysmans who converts to Islam to keep his job and the erotic appeal of polygamy, “was converted to Catholicism.”
” The Qur’an is better than I thought, now that I read “ adds Houellebecq, concluding that ” jihadists are bad Muslims. “
“I’m not an intellectual. I’m not taking sides. I am not defending any regime,” he said again, saying that “Islamophobia is not a kind of racism.”
In the novel, President Ben Abbes is presented as a moderate Muslim “who defends values.” It will be in the book, patriarchy, polygamy, veiling, the women return home, the end of freedom of conscience and conversion to Islam …