“Submission” – Michel Houellebecq

This is definitely the worst book I have read this year (and it also comes close to probably being one of the worst books I’ve ever read in my entire life). To start off, I absolutely don’t understand the hype & the buzz around Michel Houellebecq. To me, he comes off as a completely arrogant and rude ass-hole (excuse my language but emotions are taking over when thinking back to the wasted hours on this book that I’ll never get back).
Whatever the subject is, it couldn’t be interesting enough to cover up all the rest of the faults that you come across on the 320 pages.

The structure of the book simply felt all over the place. One of the examples is the separation by chapters, them having dates in the beginning, which then suddenly disappear without any apparent reason. In addition to that, the pace of the book seemed off, the transitions between each chapter don’t flow & rather interrupt the reading rhythm (the point of the boringly elaborated days & months spent in the French country side, being interrupted by religious poems from time to time or the disgusting portrayal of the character’s itching & bleeding feet are still not understandable to me).

The style didn’t stand out as anything special at all & the author didn’t manage to capture my attention, so that I was falling asleep during my reading sessions & had to force myself to finish the book. Especially on page 207 it becomes evident how repetitive the used phrases are, so that it seems like the writing hasn’t even been edited properly.

Just about 70 pages into the book, I found myself highlighting parts that would explain WHY I DESPISED the book so much. 80 pages in, I felt waves of hatred towards the main character, him being a misogynist, reducing women to only their appearances, being a fan & a supporter of patriarchy, thinking that women shouldn’t have the right to vote or to have access to education. Other charming details that made up his being:

– The only reason for him to be missing his academic career, is to not having access to female students for sexual relations anymore
– Going on escort websites to bridge these times of sexual deprivation
– Sleeping with prostitutes & just because the woman was able to trigger feelings in him, he takes it as a sign that he was sent as a saviour for her…
– Him not being able to deal with being refused by a woman & projecting the fault onto her, implying that she won’t be capable of happiness after that (p. 249)

All in all, he’s a disgusting portrayal of a man obsessed with his cock, being someone who only sees the negative sides of life & complaining at all possible times (for example about the dread of taking a metro exit where he has to take the stairs instead of the escalator).
To round off the disaster, there’s the topic of the Muslim party winning the French presidential votes in the near future. The argumentation of the events surrounding it simply aren’t plausible enough, changes happening way too quickly (like all women stopping to wear dresses or skirts just months after or all “Jennyfer” stores being closed down). There’s also the missing logic of why all non-Muslim professors would need to be fired on the spot…
This book just doesn’t seem well thought through & is aiming at general provocation. Just stay away from it if you don’t want to waste your time.

★☆☆☆☆ (1/5)

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