Michel Houellebecq’s ‘Submission,’ which imagined the election of France’s first Muslim president, was one of the year’s most urgent books.
Michel Houellebecq’s ‘Soumission’ depicts France after Muslims take over. But Robert Zaretsky asks if the book is really a morality play on the nation’s unsavory past.
“Public Enemies,” far from being the “duel” suggested by the book’s subtitle, is in fact an act of mutual masturbation by two of France’s leading luminaries, Bernard-Henri Lévy and Michel Houellebecq (pronounced Wellbeck). In the book-length series of letters, the friends encourage each other to indulge in self-reflection. They talk about their fathers. They spar over Goethe, Nietzsche, and Schopenhauer. But mostly they trade notes on celebrity and use the opportunity to solidify their images.