“I’m reading it now because at the end of January, it will be too late to talk about it”: the privileged people who have already read the last Houellebecq

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Each era has its privileges. There are those who had access to surgical masks the first, those who, at the beginnings of the pandemic, knew someone working in a laboratory to be tested. As the year 2022 approaches, we must reckon with those who pride themselves on having read the last Houellebecq before its release in bookstores on January 7. They split into two groups who stare at each other: the dubbed journalists or friends of the writer, who have received a copy of the book by Flammarion, and the others, who have received (or found) a pirate PDF.

“Things have changed, and in a way they have gotten easier for pirates”, notes a character fromAnnihilate in the first pages of the novel. Indeed, while Flammarion was betting on a very chic cardboard edition justifying a price of 26 euros, it is a very ugly pirated version which allows to shine at holiday meals before the publication.

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For the pampered editorial staff, downgrading is cruel. Already they had to accept that bookstagrameurs receive press services at the same time as them. All they have to do is post photos of the “real” book on Instagram, stored in their suitcase for the holidays (“I’m leaving with my Houellebecq! “) or open by the crackling fire, as did on her Valérie Trierweiler account.

Even the Flammarion letter which accompanies the book by demanding compliance with an embargo on its content until December 30 is deemed worthy of being shot and posted on social networks.

Curiosity, the readers of the pirate version may not have received this document, they also make a strange point of honor to respect the embargo politely. History of joining the happy few? So here they are engaged in a balancing act to signal that they have had access to the manuscript, but without revealing too much what they have read. We therefore stay in the very close ( “It is said that the first use of the word” bite “would not occur until page 38”, writes the one) or the very distant (“Impressive intelligence of our time”, writes the other).

How do we recognize them?

Since Michel Houellebecq has a reputation as an oracle, they have wanted to read Annihilate to be the first informed of what will happen to them in 2027. At the first rumors of a leak, they dropped test balloons around them to find out where to get it. As soon as the file was downloaded, they sent the news around them at the same speed as the pseudo “Beauvau leaks” on election night at 6 pm.

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“I’m reading it now because at the end of January, it will be too late to talk about it”: the privileged people who have already read the last Houellebecq