Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Public Enemies: Bernard Henri-Levy and Michel Houellebecq

Random House has recently published Public Enemies, a conversation between the French writers Bernard Henri-Levy and Michel Houellebecq. It's sure to be an entertaining read and the New York Times provides two takes on the book.

Dwight Garner helps us understand the neologism "moasting" and notes that Public Enemies "is a pure distillation of literary moasting, as high proof as it gets. Both men delight in being provocative, on the page and off, yet feign shock that anyone has ever been provoked," while Ian Buruma writes "the running gag that permeates the entire discussion is the conceit that (Henri-Levy and Houellebecq) are hated, persecuted and despised by almost everyone" and concludes that "it is all brilliantly done. But I’m afraid to say that none of this is meant to be read as a comic novel. It is all in deadly earnest."

You can also read an excerpt here.

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