Nominated by:

Winnipeg Public Library, Canada

Tartu Public Library, Estonia

Stadtbüchereien Düsseldorf, Germany

Bibliotheken der Stadt Mainz, Germany

Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek, Norway

Publisher of nominated edition:

William Heinemann, UK

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, USA


Michel Houellebecq      

Translated from the original French by Lorin Stein

2017 Longlist

As the 2022 French Presidential election looms, two candidates emerge as favourites: Marine Le Pen of the Front National, and the charismatic Muhammed Ben Abbes of the growing Muslim Fraternity. Forming a controversial alliance with the political left to block the Front National’s alarming ascendancy, Ben Abbes sweeps to power, and overnight the country is transformed. This proves to be the death knell of French secularism, as Islamic law comes into force: women are veiled, polygamy is encouraged and, for our narrator François – misanthropic, middle-aged and alienated – life is set on a new course.

Submission is a devastating satire, comic and melancholy by turns, and a profound meditation on faith and meaning in Western society.

(from publisher)

About the Author

A poet, essayist and novelist, Michel Houellebecq is the author of several novels, including The Map and the Territory, Atomised, Platform and Whatever.

Librarians’ Comments

Francois is a typical Houellebecqian male: isolated, cerebral and sometimes loathsome. But the book has aroused controversy not for this disagreeable lout but for the quasi-dystopian future Houellebecq has furnished around him. As a sincere satirist, the author is genuinely saddened by the absurdities of history and the madnesses of mankind. Submission is a controversial, intelligent, and mordantly funny novel from France’s most famous living literary figure.

Not a book to enjoy, but one which fascinates and disturbs in its dystopian view of near-future French academia and politics gone wrong.

This unsettling dystopian novel evokes the islamistic near-future of France in an intelligent, controversial and subtly satirical manner. The topical subject matter is rendered in a highly readable, clear and logical prose which is at times musical or poetic, at times sexually explicit.

Related Entries