The American Taliban was a novel about a young man seeking a fuller, more spiritual life, who through a series of seemingly harmless events ends up training and presumably fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11.
Submission by Michel Houellebecq is the near-future story of how, through an unforeseen string of political events, the Moslem Brotherhood comes to power in France. Many of the changes the new Moslem government make are commonly understood but the results of those changes are interesting to contemplate: cut off a few hands and crime goes way down; remove all women from the workforce and unemployment is solved; grant pesky intellectuals a pension three times greater than they might hope for and the opposition retires to the countryside to raise goats.
Besides, there is a sudden influx of beaucoup d’argent from the oil rich countries of the Middle East.
Houellebecq writes this novel in a way that it reminds me of several post-apocalyptic dystopian novels: there are abandoned stores with dead bodies behind the counter; the hero is hiding out in a less populated part of the country to avoid any possible conflict; petrol for the car is at a premium. Sex still sells. But where are the Triffids?
Houellebecq has a well-deserved reputation for writing very depressing novels. This one, despite the theme, is not quite so depressing. I believe this is because the subject is the “problem” and Houellebecq relies on it rather than assuring that his prose is a real downer. Even so, Houellebecq is one of my favorite authors and his works should be read by all.
Michel Houellebecq is also known for his interest in and translations of the American author, H. P. Lovecraft. Is there a connection between their stories?