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The Controversial Satire of Michel Houellebecq

January 20th, 2015

Episode 409 of 447 episodes

In this week’s magazine, Adam Gopnik writes about the controversial French satirist Michel Houellebecq, whose work has been derided as racist and obscene but whose books sell well in France and have been translated into many languages. Houellebecq has been in the spotlight recently not only because of the release of his latest novel, “Submission,” which imagines French society under Sharia law, but because the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo featured a caricature of Houellebecq on its cover at the time the publication was attacked by radical Islamist gunmen earlier this month. On this week’s episode of Out Loud, Gopnik joins Michael Agger, the culture editor of newyorker.com, to discuss Houellebecq’s career and the common misunderstandings of his work. “It’s completely off the mark to imagine Houellebecq as a liberal critic of Islam,” Gopnik argues. “He is a reactionary critic of liberalism.”

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