Michel Houellebecq, Lorin Stein: Submission (2016, Picador) 4 stars

It’s 2022. François is bored. He’s a middle-aged lecturer at the New Sorbonne University and …

Review of 'Submission' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

In Submission, Houellebecq satirises academics, politicians and political journalists, but Submission is not a satire. Although the scenario that a Muslim Party might find itself poised to win a presidential election is unrealistic, Houellebecq reinforce an image of France in which Islam hangs overhead like the sword of Damocles. It’s a dark and depressing image, especially if you are a woman. It’s a book about submission, women submission to men and men’s submission to god, as Islam envisages it. While I was reading it, I could stop thinking that women are almost absent from the story. They have resigned to the insubordinate role that Islam and men have set for them. There was no reaction or resistance, they just accept that happiness resides in the most absolute submission. It is “Happiness in Slavery”, as it has captured in Jean Paulhan’s Story of O.

I liked the book but I didn’t love it. It’s an extraordinarily sad book and an insult to women.

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