Saturday, September 25, 2010

Interesting Interview with French Writer Michel Houellebecq

Perfect name for a French writer, eh? He's well known in France for his anti-Muslim comments and graphic sex scenes. The interview made me want to read his stuff.


So what made you write your first novel, Whatever, about a computer
programmer and his sexually frustrated friend?


I hadn’t seen any novel make the statement that entering the workforce was like entering the grave. That from then on, nothing happens and you have to pretend to be interested in your work. And, furthermore, that some people have a sex life and others don’t just because some are more attractive than others. I wanted to acknowledge that if people don’t have a sex life, it’s not for some moral reason, it’s just because they’re ugly. Once you’ve said it,
it sounds obvious, but I wanted to say it."

1 comment:

Little Earl said...

Congratulations, I think you've found the French writer to end all French writers:

“Iggy Pop wrote some songs based on my novel The Possibility of an Island,” he offered. “He told me it’s the only book he has liked in the last ten years.”

At the age of thirty-six, he published his first novel, Whatever (1994), about the crushingly boring lives of two computer programmers. The novel attracted a cult following and inspired a group of fans to start Perpendiculaire, a magazine based on a movement they called “depressionism.” (Houellebecq, who accepted an honorary place on the masthead, says he “didn’t really understand their theory and, frankly, didn’t care.”)

For the first and last time in his public life, Houellebecq received widespread sympathy from the French press, who were forced to concede that even the harsh portrait of the hippie mother in The Elementary Particles didn’t do justice to the self-involved character that emerged from her autobiography. During her book tour, she famously asked, “Who hasn’t called their son a sorry little prick?”

“How do you have the nerve to write some of the things you do?” I asked him. “Oh, it’s easy. I just pretend that I’m already dead.”

Given Houellebecq’s reputation for getting drunk and making passes at his female interviewers, I was slightly apprehensive as I rang the doorbell of his modest short-term rental in Paris...Each of my questions met with a funereal silence, during which he blew smoke and closed his eyes. More than once I began to wonder whether he had fallen asleep.

Currently single, Houellebecq is twice divorced and has a son by his first marriage. Since 2000, he has lived on Ireland’s west coast and spends his summers at his condominium in Andalusia.