Submission: Michel Houellebecq
As the 2022 French Presidential election looms, two candidates emerge as favourites: Marine Le Pen of the Front National, and the charismatic Muhammed Ben Abbes of the growing Muslim Fraternity. Forming a controversial alliance with the political left to block the Front National´s alarming ascendency, Ben Abbes sweeps to power, and overnight the country is transformed. This proves to be the death knell of French secularism, as Islamic law comes into force: women are veiled, polygamy is encouraged and, for our narrator François - misanthropic, middle-aged and alienated - life is set on a new course. Submission is a devastating satire, comic and melancholy by turns, and a profound meditation on faith and meaning in Western society.
A tribute to George Orwell´s 1984 and a cry of protest against totalitarianism of all kinds, Sansal´s 2084 tells the story of a near future in which religious extremists have established an oppressive caliphate where autonomous thought is forbidden. It is the year 2084. In the kingdom of Abistan-named after the prophet Abi, earthly messenger of the god Yolah-citizens submit to a single god, demonstrating their devotion by kneeling in prayer nine times a day. Autonomous thought has been banned, remembering is forbidden, and an omnipresent surveillance system instantly informs the authorities of every deviant act, thought, or idea. The kingdom is blessed and its citizens are happy, filled with a sense of purpose and piety. Those who are not-the heretics-are put to death by stoning or beheading in city squares. But Ati has met people who think differently; in ghettos and caves, hidden from the authorities, exist the last living heretics and free-thinkers of Abistan. Under their influence, Ati begins to doubt. He begins to think. Now, he will have to defend his thoughts with his life. ´´[In 2084] Sansal dared to go much further than I did,´´ said Michel Houellebecq, the controversial novelist most recently of Submission. 2084 is a cry of freedom, a call to rebellion, a gripping satirical novel of ideas, and an indictment of the religious fundamentalism that, with its hypocrisy and closed-mindedness, threatens our modern democracies and the ideals on which they are founded. WINNER OF THE FRENCH ACADEMY GRAND PRIX