IIt is the event of this literary re-entry in January. The name of Michel Houellebecq is circulating on everyone’s lips, on the occasion of the release, on January 7, of his eighth novel, Annihilate, 730 pages, published by Flammarion. The first time the author is mentioned in The world, on May 3, 1991, he was unknown. On the occasion of a short review of his essay HP Lovecraft. Against the world, against life, to the Rocher editions, Alain Jacob explains that he “Is not sure that all come back satisfied”, by pointing a Lovecraft “Fundamentally racist” and particularly conservative.
A few years later, Josyane Savigneau praised the talent of the writer, including the first novel, Extension of the field of wrestling, was published in 1994 (Maurice Nadeau). She concludes her review: “We know what the author is going to do: continue writing, which is an excellent idea for the future. “ Same enthusiasm on the part of Pierre Lepape, on August 28, 1998, for the release of Elementary particles (Flammarion) – a “Little post-Marxist treatise on amorous pauperism”. Enough to transform its author into “Real beast of the literary scene”. The sales figures, more than 500,000 copies, prove that the writer has climbed a step.
The literary community is torn apart
But the controversies are already pointing their noses. A few days later, on August 31, 1998, Jean-Luc Douin reported that a campsite « alternative » requests the seizure of the book, justifying that its activities would be described under “A perverse day”, in the book. Quoted directly, Michel Houellebecq is worried that following these threats “Writing becomes an impossible exercise”. The literary community is torn apart around this book which violently criticizes the libertarian spirit of May 68, considers the freedom offered by modern society as suffering and offers a raw vision of sexuality, contrary to all eroticism.
“I bring bad news: and we rarely forgive the bearers of bad news. »Michel Houellebecq in 1998
Excluded from the literary review Perpendicular, the interested party replies, in “Le Monde des livres” of September 18, 1998, by comparing himself to the American author Bret Easton Ellis. “I bring bad news: and we rarely forgive the bearers of bad news. “. In her survey of November 9, 1998, Marion Van Renterghem takes stock of this literary re-entry: it is titled “The Houellebecq trial”. The journalist wonders: “Unclassifiable, Houellebecq disturbs, divides. What is the “position” of this writer from the left, who pays tribute in turn to Stalin and “compassion”, to “traditionalist Cathos” and to eugenics? “
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From “HP Lovecraft” to “Annihilate”, Michel Houellebecq in “Le Monde”