24 September 2015, The Tablet

Conversion by pastiche

by Houman Barekat

SubmissionMICHEL HOUELLEBECQ trans. Lorin Stein For the record, Anthony Burgess got there first. His rollickingly irreverent Orwellian rejoinder 1985 (1978) raised the spectre of a Muslim takeover of Britain funded by oil-rich Arabs. Back then it was little more than mordant farce. Today, although the scenario remains every bit as preposterous, it is pregnant with brooding satire: Michel Houellebecq’s Submission, which imagines the Islamification of France in the near future, was published in France in the very week of the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo’s offices. Readers hoping for the frisson of lurid dystopia — Brave New World with tagiyahs – will be disappointed. This novel is not really about Islam, but about France. Its central preoccupations have their r
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