New novel by the controversial French author Michel Houellebecq is a national event

He is the controversial poet-provocateur who is idolized as France’s greatest literary export, and he holds up a mirror to the bitter truths of contemporary France. Michel Houellebecq’s eighth book “Anéantir”, which translates as “Annihilate”, reaches the bookshelf today with a massive edition of 300,000 copies.

It is Houellebecq’s first novel since he was awarded France’s highest award, the Légion d’honneur, for his services to French literature by President Emmanuel Macron.

Professor Russell Williams from the American University of Paris talks to Eve Jackson about the author’s unique insight into masculinity, France, Islam, sex tourism, the human condition and courageous other topics that many novelists would never dare write about.

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