Like wildfire, the news of the new Houellebecq novel is spreading throughout the cyberspace. The first post in English that I noticed had appeared in the indispensable Literary Saloon. The information in French is available now at various sites; for example: Le Figaro, France 24, Sud Ouest. It looks like the most complete information for the time being is at Les Inrocks.
The Local provides a write-up in English about the forthcoming novel under the headline Muslims rule France in provocative new novel. So, Houellebecque’s forthcoming dystopia will deal with “a future France where a Muslim party wins the presidency”. Something one could expect from the author of the scandalous Platform.
According to the short description of the novel, the main character is a literature instructor at university specialising in the French fin-de-siècle writer Joris-Karl Huysmans. Well, interesting choice, as Huysmans not unlike Houellebecque had his fair share of provocation at the end of the 19th century with the publication of The Damned, a novel about Satanism rampaging in France with a shocking (for that time, of course) description of a black mess. I am not going to draw any hasty conclusions before Houellebecque’s novel is published, but I do hope that the inevitable scandal will not spiral into a Salman Rushdie or a Danish cartoon situation. Anyway, Huysman’s novel looks like a useful preliminary read for those waiting for the publication of Submission.
Update 1: The Germans, as expected, are the first to deliver the translation of Houellebecque’s new offering. Unterwerfung is already available for pre-order.
Update 2: My review of the novel is now up.
Update 3: Actually the Italians seem to have beaten the Germans to the punch, with Bompiani releasing Sottomissione on January 15.
Update 4: The UK edition of Submission is now available for pre-order.
Update 5: At last, the US readers have a chance to pre-order the American edition of Submission to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on 20 October.