Any minute now Michel Houellebecq, the bad boy of French literature, is going to do something very, very bad. It’s true I’ve been on the road with him all week and his behavior has been impeccable, but something’s got to give. There’s too much history. What about his purported obsession with sex clubs and prostitutes? What about his penchant for hitting on female journalists, explaining that only one night with him will guarantee the real story? What about the time he called Islam “the stupidest religion”? Surely, the man’s going to bust out with something reprehensible, and now, in his smoke-filled semi-suite at the Bel Age in L.A., is as good a time as any. He flies back to Europe tomorrow.
Houellebecq, forty-eight, is a slight man, fragile-seeming, handsome in his way. There’s a boyish gleam to him that calls to mind that terrible disease where children age rapidly. I have to stop and remind myself that he’s just a forty-eight-year-old man. Right now he slouches in a swivel chair while a woman he’s met tonight, a well-known book critic, kneels before him. They speak in low tones about the possibility of love in a loveless universe, or something like that.
more from The Believer here.