He is so acute an observer of social trends that he sometimes appears almost prophetic: He foresaw the terrorist attack in Bali and the advent of the gilets jaunes in France. He has long held that the threat of Islamism to the West comes not so much from Islamism itself, with its nugatory intellectual resources, but from the weakness, the doubts, the cowardice, and the venality of Western society’s response, itself the result of the spiritual vacuity from which the West suffers and which he describes so well, without—of course—offering a solution (it is not the place of novelists to be constructive, except in the sense that criticism is the first stage of taking thought for the morrow).
I will be reading this as soon as the English translation is available. I think Houellebecq is the great contemporary novelist. I may just reread some of his books or get one I haven’t read.