In recent months, it is not for a novel that Michel Houellebecq has been talking about him but for his appearance in a pornographic film and a complaint from the Great Mosque of Paris for "provocation to hatred" in the magazine Popular Front, launched by the philosopher Michel Onfray. A bad pass of six months, from October 2022 to March 2023, that the author is not about to forget since according to information from the Point, he will publish "A few months in my life", a short story of 112 pages devoted to the said period on May 24 at Flammarion.
"For the first time in my life, I felt treated, absolutely, like the subject of a wildlife documentary; It's hard for me to forget that moment." Here is what will appear on the back cover of this book, written in the first person, always reveals the weekly. What will be found there? His version of the facts. But also "his interview with the rector of the Great Mosque of Paris Chems-eddine Hafiz, mediatized by the chief rabbi Haim Korsia". The same will be about his duet with comedian Blanche Gardin, to whom he gives the answer in the next film Dans la peau de Blanche Houellebecq by Guillaume Nicloux, director with whom the writer has already collaborated for The Abduction of Michel Houellebecq, (2014). Of course, and should we point it out?, Houellebecq wrote all this "in his own way, raw and caustic".
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So what happened? Take. In early December 2022, Michel Houellebecq spoke with Michel Onfray. Transhumanism, "great replacement", decline of the West, dechristianization, environmentalism, war in Ukraine... The result is a dialogue of forty-five pages in which the writers analyze the flaws of our time and dissect the bowels of our society. As we know, the two men are warm-blooded and therefore not the lukewarm type in their positions. On Islam, in this case, Michel Houellebecq said: "When entire territories are under Islamist control, I think acts of resistance will take place. There will be attacks and shootings in mosques," predicting "Bataclan upside down." But also: "the wish of the native French population" was not "that Muslims assimilate, but that they stop robbing and attacking them. Or, alternatively, let them go."
"Pithy sentences" that Chems-eddine Mohamed Hafiz, rector of the Great Mosque of Paris since January 2020, had deemed "unacceptable". "They do not aim to enlighten any public debate but to stir up discriminatory speeches and acts," he said, announcing then to file a complaint with the prosecutor of the Republic of Paris. Attacked, Michel Houellebecq had reacted in a forum to the Point, saying that "it would be curious to imagine that [his] positions could have a concrete influence". "The first time she brought me to justice, twenty years ago, I was accused of incitement to racial hatred. It was silly, everyone knows that Islam is not a race, but a religion with a universal aim", adding that he was "this time accused of Islamophobia, which is more relevant. Islam is a religion that inspires me little consideration, so to some extent I plead guilty; as long as I add that I am a part-time Islamophobe."
What about the novelist's appearance in a pornographic film? In the trailer of the film Kirac 27, directed by the Dutch collective of the same name, we saw Michel Houellebecq, shirtless in a bed, kissing a young woman. He explained that he had agreed to play in it and had signed a contract, "provided that [his] anonymity is preserved". A condition that the director has, according to him, not respected. Considering himself damaged in his reputation (he was portrayed as "a porn star") he had filed a lawsuit to ban the said film. But, the court of Amsterdam had finally rejected it and as revealed by Le Figaro, Houellebecq then announced to appeal...
It is these incredible stories, symptoms of a troubled time that the writer excels at deciphering, that will be at the heart of the book, available on May 24 in bookstores.