Here is the opening of “Michel Houellebecq: The Ecstasy of Disgust”, by one Nancy Huston, writing in Salmagundi, No. 152 (Fall 2006). Needless to say, she’s not a fan of MH:
By way of an introduction, let me tell you a little story.
A couple of years ago I went to the Edinburgh Festival with E., my great friend from New York. During our flight across the English Channel from Paris, we avidly read the reviews of the many shows that would be playing while we were in town. The Guardian was particularly enthusiastic (five stars!) about an American stand-up comedian: according to the review, his outspoken anti-Bush and anti-Bible stance had shocked his audiences. “Terrific!” said E, an atheist Jew and a staunch Democrat. “Shall we try to get tickets for tonight?” As soon as we reached our hotel room I picked up the telephone, and after a number of fruitless attempts, managed to reserve two seats.
No, this is not fictional parody by David Lodge.
This is a real essay.