Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Even French novelists can tell our culture is doomed

 Michel Houellebecq

So it must be getting pretty obvious.  French novelist Michel Houellebecq is not a believer, nor can he be considered a mouthpiece for Catholic orthodoxy and traditionalism.  Indeed, his fiction has been called "vulgar" and even "pornographic."  Which makes Houellebecq's observation that “human history from the fifteenth to the twentieth century [is] characterized by progressive decline and disintegration” all the more striking.  In describing our times, Houellebecq uses terms like "decay," "fake," and "doomed," an indication he has seen through to the hollow center of the post-Christian west.   The New York Times suggests that there is a "Houellebecquian mood," characterized by a ''depressive lucidity,'' and consisting of "a heightened awareness of the impoverishment of everyday life and its landscape."  Another critic has noted that "Houellebecq seems temperamentally ripe for some kind of conversion, were his will to believe only stronger."  
Perhaps there are many in our midst like Houellebecq, who have not yet experienced conversion but who nevertheless have been made "ripe" for it by the manifest bleakness of life without Christ.

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