Houellebecq the seer

Michel Houellebecq, writes Dalrymple,

is a pornographer. Once you’ve read a few of his books, you recognise what are almost certainly his sexual fantasies.

He notes that Houellebecq is also

a visionary. Houellebecq predicted the rise of Islamic terrorism in France, and his new book predicted the eruption of mass protest in provincial France known as the gilets jaunes.

Dalrymple explains that Houellebecq’s theme is

the lack of transcendent purpose in Western consumer society, especially among the middle classes and the educated. According to him, they are exhausted and disabused pleasure-seekers with no purpose but short-term enjoyment or sensation-seeking, pleasure and sensation becoming themselves ever more fleeting and ever less rewarding. In a society with little religious faith, little respect for tradition, and no collective political goal, everything becomes superficial, even sexual relations (as his pornographic passages are supposed to illustrate). And no one is sharper than Houellebecq in observations of the absurdity of modern life.

The novelist with his wife Qianyum Lysis Li

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