In a near-future France, Francois, 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 nineteenth-century novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans - has led him nowhere. In a late-capitalist society where consumerism has become the new religion, Francois 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 favourites: 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 Francois, life is set on a new course. Submission is both a devastating satire and a profound meditation on isolation, faith and love. It is a startling new work by one of the most provocative and prescient novelists of today.
"A work of real literary distinction...[ Houellebecq] has been the novelist who has most fearlessly and presciently tackled the rise of Islamic extremism in recent years...He is a writer with a gift for telling the truth, unlike any other in our time - I've been consistently saying he is the writer who matters most to me for many years now. I've read Submission twice in the last week with ever growing admiration and enjoyment. There's been no English-language novel this good lately. With Submission Houellebecq has inserted himself right into the centre of the intellectual debate that was already raging in France about Islam and identity politics...There is nobody else writing now more worth reading." -- David Sexton Evening Standard "One cannot be said to be keeping abreast of contemporary literature without reading his work." -- Karl Ove Knausgaard New York Times "One cannot be said to be keeping abreast of contemporary literature without reading his work." -- Karl Ove Knausgaard New York Times "The narration is enjoyably sardonic, a pungent mixture of deadpan jokes about sexual politics and close reading...Darkly clever and funny." Guardian "A fine, deeply literary work...It is genuinely more admiring than critical of Islam...It's electrifying; no recent English-language novel compares." Spectator
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