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Submission: A Novel de Michel Houellebecq
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Submission: A Novel (2015 original; edició 2015)

de Michel Houellebecq (Autor), Lorin Stein (Traductor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,507748,830 (3.62)44
In a near-future France, François, 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 novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans--has led him nowhere. In a late-capitalist society where consumerism has become the new religion, François 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 favorites: 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 François, life is set on a new course.… (més)
Membre:JagannathA
Títol:Submission: A Novel
Autors:Michel Houellebecq (Autor)
Altres autors:Lorin Stein (Traductor)
Informació:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2015), Edition: 1st, 256 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:to-read

Detalls de l'obra

Submissió de Michel Houellebecq (2015)

  1. 30
    A repèl (À rebours). de Joris-Karl Huysmans (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: In "Unterwerfung" geht es um einen Professor der Literaturwissenschaften mit Schwerpunkt "Huysman". Entsprechend wird auch viel über Huysman gesprochen.
  2. 00
    Vernon Subutex 3 de Virginie Despentes (JuliaMaria)
  3. 00
    The Prepper Room de Karen Duve (JuliaMaria)
  4. 00
    The Handmaid's Tale de Margaret Atwood (JuliaMaria)
  5. 00
    1984 de George Orwell (JuliaMaria)
  6. 00
    Story of O de Pauline Réage (gianoulinetti)
    gianoulinetti: Sul tema della sottomissione della donna all'uomo
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Anglès (36)  Francès (10)  Alemany (7)  Castellà (6)  Neerlandès (5)  Italià (2)  Danès (2)  Noruec (Bokmål) (1)  Hongarès (1)  Noruec (1)  Portuguès (Brasil) (1)  Totes les llengües (72)
Es mostren 1-5 de 72 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Submission was published on the same day as the Charlie Hebdo shootings in 2015. That tragedy only deepens Houellebecq's novel, which could not be more relevant to questions of cultural identity and the individual's relationship to changes in the surrounding society. And even though the book is deeply political - the French left vs the right, nativism vs the existing power structure, secularism vs Catholicism vs Islam, traditional French national identity vs new possibilities, the Enlightenment vs pre-Enlightenment thought - fundamentally Houellebecq's classical preoccupation with the modern self remains: which direction does the contemporary man turn to for truth in a post-everything world? Once every modern source of authority is suspect or discredited, what's left to answer the pull of ancient dogma? Furthermore, by returning to religious certainties, what exactly would be lost?

The title is a triple play on words: the individual's submission to society, France's submission to the changing currents of history, and of course the word "Islam" simply means "submission" to God's will. Houellebecq's protagonists are always adrift in some sense, and so here is François, an academic who has dedicated his whole career to the study of the Catholic writer Huysmans, whose journey from decadent author to devoutly religious monk is an explicit model for the audience. France in 2022 is undergoing a political crisis loosely inspired by real life, where the collapse of trust in the traditional left (Socialists) and right (Union For a Popular Movement) parties has left a vacuum for the National Front (a real French nationalist party), and the Muslim Brotherhood (a fictional "moderate" Islamist party). Terrorist violence accelerates the polarization of the electorate, but as the left and the right hate the nationalists even more than they hate each other, an accord is reached and they throw the election to the Muslim Brotherhood, who begins to transform French society in accordance with a relaxed interpretation of Sharia. François then has to decide whether to adapt to the new order, or to refuse, and thereby defend... something.

Some political aspects of the novel translate to America better than others. There has always been, and probably will always be, a sizable percentage of Americans who have conveniently forgotten that their own ancestors did not spring up from the banks of the Mississippi, just as there is always a hefty contingent who fetishize anything new or different. Many real French politicians such as Hollande, Sarkozy, and Le Pen appear, and so the comparisons to their "corresponding" American figures like Barack Obama or Donald Trump are inevitable. We might not have a two-round Presidential runoff electoral system, but the idea that Democrats and Republicans actually have a shared interest in trading off control as a duopoly at the expense of responding to the public interest has a long history. Furthermore, the broad sense that the great social revolutions of the Sixties "failed" in some important way - the varying degrees of contempt for hippies here is matched for soixante-huitards in France - is something that is shared not just between the US and France but across the West more generally.

Still, let's not exaggerate. Americans might not be perfectly welcoming of every single potential immigrant on planet Earth, but the US is definitely among the more receptive countries in the world, and our two-party system gives nativists at best only partial control of one major party. Also the second half of the novel discusses international relations topics like expansion of the European Union that are not quite as touchy for Americans, though agreements like NAFTA and TPP do attract their fair share of derision and sense of selling out. Above all I think that most immigrants to the US come because they like the system of the US, not because they want to transform the US into whatever they just left, particularly not some kind of Sharia law dystopia. France offers us parallels, but not necessarily points of intersection (though Israel, also mentioned in the novel, is a closer comparison). So while it's very easy to read the novel as a universal anti-immigrant warning, along the lines of the infamous The Camp of the Saints, beyond the general sense of an incompetent establishment unable to respond to a major change the political analogies are limited.

However, all that political stuff is basically just setup for the main character's personal crisis, as well as a way to talk about how that relates to his culture. François is the steretypically Houellebecq-ian emotionally distant, anhedonic narrator who has surprisingly little invested in the world around him, beyond the satisfaction of immediate needs, but this time rather than merely being bored with his career, his reading, his girlfriend, etc, this time it's France itself. In his words, upon watching the Presidential debates, "It may well be impossible for people who have lived and prospered under a given social system to imagine the point of view of those who feel it offers them nothing, and who can contemplate its destruction without any particular dismay." This might strike some readers as typically French navel-gazing on top of typically Houellebecq-ian distemper, and indeed François, as you'd expect, gets heavy into the Nietzsche:

"And yet I knew I was close to suicide, not out of despair or even any special sadness, simply from the degradation of 'the set of functions that resist death', in Bichat's formulation. The mere will to live was clearly no match for the pains and aggravations that punctuate the life of the average Western man. I was incapable of living for myself, and who else did I have to live for? Humanity didn't interest me – it disgusted me, actually. I didn't think of human beings as my brothers, especially not when I looked at some particular subset of human beings, such as the French, or my former colleagues. And yet, in an unpleasant way, I couldn't help seeing that these human beings were just like me, and it was this very resemblance that made me avoid them."

One of the great ironies of modern Western culture is that while it is extremely individualistic, in the sense that people are encouraged to think for themselves, and especially to think OF themselves, there are more forces pulling everyone in various directions, not all of them pleasant, than ever before. It's difficult for most people to feel strongly about abstract concepts like capitalism, religion, tradition, and so forth, without particularized connections to each life as it is lived. From the inside, each person would like to see themselves as in control of their destinies. But there will always be something inside of most that desires to be part of a harmonious whole, in order to get those feelings of warm connection we imagine the people of the past felt. A linear view of history seems to show a straightforward march up from the simplistic and brutal ideologies of the past, but even if we are at the "End of History", one can't deny that the modern life provides countless opportunities for stimulation without satisfaction or satiation. What if the Enlightenment was a mistake?

To state this so bluntly is to invite controversy, no matter how widely shared this disagreeable feeling might be, which is why I've always been a fan of Houellebecq's plain, unadorned presentation style, which gives his concerns a protagonist to present them without drenching them in bathos. François himself is impossible to root for - his struggle at the end to convert to Islam in order to continue his worthless academic career, marry underage girls, and enjoy higher social status is no one's idea of an underdog success story - but his basic problems are easily relatable. In fact, weighty and touchy thought experiments, like the collapse and abandonment of the French cultural tradition under the social pressures brought by Muslim immigration due to a lack of conviction by white Frenchmen, are almost enhanced by François' disagreeableness.

For example, once again a Houellebecq protagonist has issues loving the woman or women in his life. In Submission she's named Myriam, but she could be the sexually voracious yet forever unknowable love interest character in any of his novels. Being Jewish, she leaves France for Israel fairly early in the novel, worried by escalating anti-semitic violence. François, despite not truly liking her all that much, is actually sad once she's gone, in an illustration of not knowing what you have until it's gone: "As soon as we hung up, I was overwhelmed by a terrible loneliness, and I knew that I'd never have the courage to call Myriam again. The feeling of closeness when we talked on the phone was too violent, and the void that came afterwards too cruel."

I can recognize that feeling, as I suspect many can. His sudden mournful outburst, coming from a place he doesn't understand, actually enhances his loss of her. After all, how often do we truly understand where our own feelings come from? Our goal is to have a love deeply rooted in another person, who simultaneously deeply loves us, but what if that just doesn't happen? This also affects his realization that she's leaving France for another country with a more coherent identity. Israel's 2015 election offers a neat allegory with this book about nativism in politics (and the decidedly non-allegorical exodus of French Jews to Israel in real life in the wake of the Hebdo shootings surely informs Myriam's actions), but as François observes, "there is no Israel for me". Even without a real sense of belonging, he's going to remain in France as it changes, and make a choice about if and how he acquiesces to the new regime.

Man's search for meaning is one of those inexhaustible, evergreen subjects, and in a way a purposeless mope like François is as good an avatar for that search as anyone. After the Muslim Brotherhood wins and decides to change the university system as a main part of their platform, he loses his job. Having devoted his life to the study of an author who decided to become extremely Catholic, François decides at first to follow his path despite his atheism. He visits some of France's ancient shrines and religious structures like Rocamadour, and even attempts to join a monastery in the historically significant town of Martel, where Charles Martel fought off the 8th century Muslims who had recently conquered Spain. He flirts with true religious conversion, but can't take it seriously, as many modern people cannot. He then returns to Paris to discuss returning to a university position with Robert Rediger, a fellow professor who had found that being an advocate for the Islamization of France, a fifth columnist, was actually quite pleasant.

François' dilemma is simple, seen in those terms. What do each of us really have at stake in society? How irreplaceable are our neighbors? What do we really care about cultural heritage, or types of food, or ways of life? What has modernity given us that couldn't be taken away? What does it mean when a sizable percentage of a society has nothing invested in it? And what about the self-interest of becoming a collaborator, with the cushy job, the social status, the multiple wives? Even if François doesn't actually believe in Islam any more than he does in Catholicism, what's so wrong with dhimmitude, submitting to the new order out of that paradigmatic modern trait, greed? Maybe in the end there really isn't anything beyond the self worth sacrificing for. But if that were really true, and the wave of change is a chance to adapt without being reborn, then there's nothing to miss.

And so, after this extremely absorbing and thought-provoking journey of confrontation with change, the book ends before his final decision, flatly and plainly presenting that very same question to the reader:

"I'd be given another chance; and it would be the chance at a second life, with very little connection to the old one. I would have nothing to mourn." ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
I can’t decide if this novel is irresponsible race-baiting or a clever commentary on the culture war. It’s probably both. In Submission‘s 2022, a moderate Muslim candidate becomes president of France and remakes French society along moderate Islamic lines – which are not all that moderate. In a word, the patriarchy is back. Women can no longer work. The narrator is a professor at a Parisian university, who is forced to retire when the new regime takes over. While the new government greatly reduces crime, it is at the cost of women’s freedoms. Professors are “bribed” back into their positions by finding them biddable female students as wives. Which, to be fair, is not how Islam works. It is, however, how patriarchy works. And that’s definitely one of the unacknowledged planks of the right-wing adherents of the “culture war”. They hate Muslims. But they want women back in the kitchen and no brown people in sight. But I’m not sure this novel is commenting on them, and I don’t think Islam is a good vehicle to make that point. But then France has a different reaction to its Muslim citizens than the UK, and I grew up in the Middle East so I’ve lived in actual Islamic countries, and Houellebecq’s presentation of Islam is hopelessly simplified, even though he provides a character to actually explain the religion. There’s also an unacknowledged issue here. I’ve seen it in the real world. In Houellebecq’s France, women can still study, but they cannot work. So their studies are worthless. But those women don’t want their daughters to suffer the same fate, so they agitate for jobs. It’s what’s been happing in the Gulf states for the past 30 years. Houllebecq’s interpretation of an Islamic Europe is unsustainable. You can’t disenfranchise half of the population and expect that to continue unopposed. Houellebecq is a controversial figure, but much of the controversy he has manufactured himself. Submission is the sort of novel that will upset people, but it’s not really a thought experiment. it’s a piss-take. Houellebecq is upsetting the people he’s taking the piss out of. Seems fair to me. ( )
  iansales | Apr 15, 2021 |
> Babelio : https://www.babelio.com/livres/Houellebecq-Soumission/667109

> « SOUMISSION », de Michel HOUELLEBECQ. Ne vous fiez pas aux rumeurs! Le dernier Houellebecq n'est ni une insulte envers l'islam ni un déchet, pas même une fiction de mauvais goût. Sur fond de crise sociale, l'arrivée à la tête du gouvernement français d'un musulman lors des élections présidentielles de 2022 provoque une vague de changements dans le pays. Le réalisme de la trame est agrémenté par l'inclusion de plusieurs politiciens français actuels. Houellebecq signe une oeuvre extrêmement riche qui porte à réfléchir, mise sur papier avec un style déroutant, enivrant. Sans artifice, l'écriture laisse les mots couler comme de l'eau. Soumission n'impose rien au lecteur ; il le laisse se questionner sur des idées controversées, proposées avec grande intelligence par l'auteur. Ed. Flammarion, 300 p., 32,95 $. M.-A. RANGER, Sainte-Thérèse, --Numéro de Avr.-mai 2015 (Revue Les libraires)

> Nicolas (Amazon) : https://www.amazon.fr/gp/customer-reviews/R372NUFUC7T73A?ref=pf_vv_at_pdctrvw_sr...

> Michel Houellebecq, ou l'islam pour tous ? --Jean Perrier, le 7 janv. 2015 (Vanity Fair)

> “Soumission”, de Michel Houellebecq : une satire politique efficace et hautement dérangeante. --Nathalie Crom, le 07/01/15 (Télérama)

> MICHEL Houellebecq (Flammarion). — Soumission est un livre qui fera date, pas seulement pour son contenu mais parce que son auteur, Michel Houellebecq faisait la une du Charlie Hebdo qu’on s’apprêtait à publier avec sa caricature en une et la légende suivante: « En 2015, je perds mes dents, en 2022, je fais Ramadan ! » Controversé génie littéraire pour les uns, auteur sans talent pour d’autres, Houellebecq ne laisse personne indifférent. Soumission raconte l’histoire d’un professeur vivant dans un pays (la France) dont le système politique s’effondre tandis que l’islam gagne du terrain au point de changer la vie des gens. Vision, cauchemar ou délire ? Au lecteur de juger. (Louise PLANTE) --Le nouvelliste, 31 janv. 2015
  Joop-le-philosophe | Mar 15, 2021 |
Afgaande op de korte inhoud en enkele summiere besprekingen, begon ik aan dit werk in de verwachting een stevige kritiek op het moslimfundamentalisme voorgeschoteld te krijgen. Maar dat is duidelijk zonder de ironie en het sarcasme van Houellebecq gerekend. Het begin maakt je duidelijk dat je weer in zijn typisch universum verkeert: het perspectief van de 44-jarige professor literatuur François is er andermaal een van uitgeblust nihilisme, of zoals hij het zelf formuleert, hij is “voorbij zijn intellectuele en amoureuze hoogtepunt”, eenzaam, asociaal, en seksistisch. Alleen die fascinatie voor de Belgisch-Franse 19de eeuwse schrijver Joris-Karl Huysmans intrigeert, want moeilijk te plaatsen. Maar terwijl je François’ onophoudelijke gekanker ondergaat, merk je eerst subtiele en later veel explicietere verwijzingen op naar een op til zijnde politieke aardverschuiving, waarbij een kandidaat van de Moslim Broederschap het tot president van Frankrijk schopt, blijkbaar in 2022. Houellebecq besteedt behoorlijk wat aandacht aan het gekonkel dat hierachter steekt: de rol van de extreemrechtse identitairen, het opportunisme van de linkse en de centrumpartijen en het tactisch vernuft van de moslimleider. Het verhaal gaat wat op en neer, met een paar ongeloofwaardige wendingen zoals een topman van de geheime dienst die hem haarfijn uitlegt wat er allemaal achter de schermen gebeurt. Tussendoor blijft François kauwen op Huysmans en diens onverwachte bekering tot het katholicisme, en levert hij zich over aan onbevredigende seksuele avonturen en misogyne commentaren op vrouwen. Eens de moslims aan de macht blijkt de ‘Wende’ redelijk mee te vallen, tenminste voor wie man is. François krijgt op niet mis te verstane wijze de uitnodiging om deel te gaan uitmaken van het nieuwe establishment. Dat gaat gepaard met observaties van duidelijke gedragsverandering bij collaborerende Fransen, die er plots enkele soms heel jonge vrouwen bijnemen. Onze hoofdfiguur heeft dan weinig moeite meer om zelf ook de knoop door te hakken, “Je n’aurai rien à regretter ».

Zoals gezegd, staat niet zozeer de islam of het gevaar van het moslimfundamentalisme in de kijker in dit boek, al is het uiteraard wel gruwelen van de kleine veranderingen die er gebeuren. Maar het is eerder het opportunisme van de Franse intellectuelen, politici (die met naam genoemd worden) en de media, die duidelijk gehekeld wordt. Zij gaan zonder veel scrupules allemaal voor de bijl en schikken zich naar het nieuwe regime, in ruil voor geld en macht, maar ook uit intellectuele bloedarmoede en cultureel gestimuleerde inschikkelijkheid. Andermaal legt Houellebecq dus de puinhoop bloot van de laatkapitalistische westerse samenleving. En in die zin is deze roman zeker een succes, voor mij op dezelfde hoogte als ‘Les particules élémentaires’. Maar verhaal-technisch rammelt dit boek overduidelijk aan verschillende kanten: er zijn bijzonder ongeloofwaardige wendingen, en soms gaat het verhaal over in drammerige traktaten door enkele personages. Ook de rol van het Huysmans-element blijft uiteindelijk nogal onbevredigend. Houellebecq’s ironisch venijn blijft uitdagen en provoceren, maar altijd ronddraaiend binnen datzelfde cultuurpessimistisch cirkeltje. ( )
  bookomaniac | Feb 8, 2021 |
Surprisingly, less vulgar and much more thoughtful than I expected after reading a few chapters. ( )
  berezovskyi | Dec 19, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 72 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Submission is not a simple provocation. It is a deep, gripping and haunting novel which proves a culmination point of Houellebecq’s work so far and, in my view, a recent high-point for European fiction. I can think of no writer currently working who can get anywhere near Houellebecq’s achievement in finding a fictional way into the darkest and most necessary corners of our time. Nor can I think of another writer currently working who would be able to write a novel of this depth, scope and relevance while also making it witty and page-turning.

The most intelligent criticism to date has come from reviewers who have objected to one layer of the novel which relates to the academic specialism of the main character. Francois is a typical Houellebecq leading man: a middle-aged academic whose parents’ deaths have no effect on him, who has short relationships with his younger female students and who since separating from an attractive young Jewish student, with whom he still intermittently has sex, switches to prostitutes though finds his libido insufficiently diverted. When Francois flees the looming chaos in Paris by going to the significantly chosen town of Martel in the south of France he tries to interest himself in Cro-Magnon man. At one point he reflects, “Cro-Magnon man hunted mammoth and reindeer; the man of today can choose between an Auchan and a Leclerc, both supermarkets located in Souillac.”
 
Houellebecq signaleert een tendens, een kiem, en zijn roman is de broeikas waarin hij het proces versnelt en tot het uiterste doordenkt. Als je zo’n fictie in kort bestek navertelt krijgt dat onvermijdelijk iets karikaturaals, maar binnen deze roman voltrekken de veranderingen zich gestaag, subtiel en in grote lijnen overtuigend. Wat daar ook aan bijdraagt: het is, voor wie ontvankelijk is voor zijn humor, weer een echt geestige Houellebecq, de grappigste sinds Platform.
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Houellebecq, Michelautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Beguivin, AlanTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Cassau, NormaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Martin, de HaanTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Stein, LorinTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Wilczek, BerndTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Gedurende alle jaren van mijn naargeestige jeugd bleef Huysmans voor mij een metgezel, een trouwe vriend; nooit voelde ik twijfel, nooit overwoog ik op te geven of me op een ander onderwerp te richten.
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Op zondagochtend was er nooit veel verkeer op de snelweg, het is het moment waarop de samenleving ademt, haar luchtwegen vrijmaakt, het moment waarop haar leden de korte illusie van een individueel bestaan koesteren.
Maar ik besefte heel goed, al jaren zelfs, dat de groeiende kloof en inmiddels zelfs diepe afgrond tussen de bevolking en degenen die spraken in haar naam, politici en journalisten, onherroepelijk tot iets chaotisch, heftigs en onvoorspelbaars moest leiden.
‘En jij, wat ga jij doen? Wat denk je dat er op de universiteit gaat gebeuren?’

Ik liep tot op de drempel met haar mee; ik besefte dat ik er eigenlijk geen flauw idee van had; en ik besefte ook dat dat me geen ene moer kon schelen. Ik kuste haar zachtjes op de lippen en antwoordde toen: ‘Voor mij is er geen Israël.’
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

In a near-future France, François, 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 novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans--has led him nowhere. In a late-capitalist society where consumerism has become the new religion, François 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 favorites: 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 François, life is set on a new course.

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