MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ’S “SUBMISSION”– OF WHOM? TO WHAT?

Michel Houllebecq’s new novel, published in French in January, due to appear in English in September, closes with the main character’s imminent conversion to Islam, his return to teaching at an Islamic Sorbonne, his selection as editor of the Pléaide edition of Joris-Karl Huysmans’ works and the prospect of three wives of his choosing—in short, a new world, if not an especially brave one, a second chance in an existence that has so far been emotionally and spiritually empty. The book ends with the sentence, “Je n’aurais rien à regretter”—“I would have nothing to mourn.” It is printed on the back of the last leaf, so you literally turn the page to read it, as François figuratively turns the page in his life.