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who will write France's future?

Reader comment on item: Who Will Write France's Future?

Submitted by Robert April (United States), Jun 7, 2016 at 15:24

You missed one essential point that Houllebecq has inserted in a subtle fashion. There is only one character in this novel who does not submit to the new France and that is Miriam, Francois' Jewish girl friend. After a very erotic love making scene, she announces to him that she (and family) are moving to Israel. This is an escape valve that is not available to Francois who exclaims, dramatically, in what might be a key phrase in this book: What about me? I have no Israel to run to!

I have heard that Houellebecq visited Israel once in his earlier career. He was surprised to find that it was not a primitive desert state, lacking sophistication and finesse. It seems that he went to the Temple Mount to see the mosque and was told he could not enter because he was not a Moslem. He maintained good memories of Israel and was offended by not being permitted to enter a house of prayer.

Perhaps some trace of those memories had something to do with his not so hidden support for Israel as one place that will not fall under Moslem domination. It will stand against political correctness (which Houellebecq abhors). Israel is portrayed as the ever more rare bastion of disorderly freedom of expression, while France is shown to be sinking back into a medieval state of dogma and rigidity.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

I did not miss this; I had no space to include it.

Yes, Houellebecq does have his main character regret he too does not have an escape as to Israel; and Israel is portrayed as a country not destined to submit.

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