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Yellow Vest protesters clash with French riot police near the Hotel des Invalides in Paris, Dec. 1, 2018 (Sipa photo via AP Images).

Michel Houellebecq and the Tragedy of the EU

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019

French author Michel Houellebecq, whose latest novel “Serotonin” was released earlier this month to widespread acclaim, has acquired the reputation of being something of a prophet. This is mainly because his previous effort, “Submission,” which envisioned an Islamicized France circa 2022, was released on the day of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015. Another of his novels, “Platform,” which culminated with an Islamist terrorist attack on a tourist resort, was published a week before Sept. 11, 2001.

“Serotonin” has similarly been described by some as having foreseen France’s current Yellow Vest movement because it includes a passage describing a protest by French dairy farmers who block traffic on a major highway. There’s nothing unprecedented or even unusual about such protests in France, however. And while Houellebecq’s fictionalized protest ends in violence, the novel makes no further mention of it inspiring an insurrectionary mood or moment, or even generalized discontent. ...

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