PRINT April 2015


Guillaume Nicloux’s Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq

Guillaume Nicloux, The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq, 2014, digital video, color, sound, 92 minutes. Michel Houellebecq.

TO TAKE THE NARRATORS of his various novels at their collective word, author Michel Houellebecq would seem to think few things are so banal—or, perhaps more accurately, so much a thing of the past—as people. In the opening pages of his first published volume, Whatever (1994), the writer deplored how “the world is becoming more uniform before our eyes,” such that “human beings are often bent on making themselves conspicuous by subtle and disagreeable variations, defects, character traits, and the like.” His most celebrated novel, The Elementary Particles (1998), subsequently portrayed emotional bonds as the stuff of science fiction, with interpersonal relationships and sexual intimacy giving way in the future to solitary cloning. Indeed, even when imagining something so personal as the details of his own fictional murder, as in The Map and the Territory (2010), Houellebecq

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