Houellebecq’s Omelette

In the May print edition of First Things, our favorite doctor turns literary critic as he reviews the latest book by the ever interesting Michel Houellebecq, titled Anéantir (Annihilation).

As Chekhov conveyed boredom without being boring, so Michel Houellebecq conveys meaninglessness without being meaningless. Indeed, his particular subject is the spiritual, intellectual, and political vacuity of life in a modern consumer ­society—France in this case, but it could be any Western country. One gets the point early on in his oeuvre, but his observations are so acute and pointed that his variations on the theme are always worth reading. Houellebecq reveals the absurdity that often lurks behind the ­commonplace.

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