Mon enfant, ma mère

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Celebrated French writer Michel Houellebecq, author of the terrific novel Elementary Particles, is doubtless accustomed to being scorned by the Paris literati. He is notoriously un-PC, having recently been prosecuted for calling Islam the "stupidest " religion. He is frequently accused of indulging in needless "obscenity" and gratuitous sexism. He was expelled from the leftish literary collective/review Les Perpendiculaires for being irredeemably bourgeois. But now he faces his toughest and most acerbic critic in the 83-year-old French writer Lucie Ceccaldi. So what is Ceccaldi's problem with Houellebecq? Well, for starters, she deems him an "evil, stupid little bastard," a "liar, an imposter, a parasite and above all—above all—a petit arriviste ready to do absolutely anything for money and fame." Of Elementary Particles, Ceccaldi says: "That book is pure pornography, it's repugnant, it's crap. I don't understand its success at all, that just shows the decadance of France." And the rest of his oeuvre: "What's this moronic literature?! Houellebecq is someone who's never done anything, who's never really desired anything, who never wanted to look at others. And that arrogance of taking yourself as superior … Stupid little bastard. Yes, Houellebecq's a stupid little bastard…" The Guardian has more on the spat.

It should be noted, though, that Ceccaldi is currently promoting her own memoir, titled L'Innocente, and is obviously trying to gin up interest in the book. And perhaps it should also be noted, in the spirit of full disclosure, that Mme. Ceccaldi is M. Houellebecq's mother.

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  1. …she deems him an “evil, stupid little bastard…

    She would know.

  2. Incestuous French slap-fight!

    Sweep the leg!

  3. How am I supposed to tell which one is the running dog capatilist lackey if they are both French?

  4. Wow, and I thought my mom’s criticism of my journalism was harsh.

  5. Let’s make litter out of these literati!

  6. Looks like she ain’t no Houellebecq girl.
    **sorry, couldn’t resist**

  7. My boss just called the VP of Product Development a “twit”. Does that now get its own post on HnR?

  8. Someone’s not getting a Mother’s Day this year.

  9. Your mother should know (Your mother should…)
    Your mother should know (Aaaah.)
    Sing it again.
    Da-da-da-da…

  10. And Raidsmith wins the thread in a first round knockout!

  11. With the decades of writing and (presumably) literary criticism experience she has, and that’s the best she can do?

    Man, you see better bitch-slaps here at H&R.

  12. She’s writing a book called The Innocent Woman and she’s calling her son that?

  13. My bad, I believe the title is the Innocent One and it’s a rebuttal to Houllebecq’s Elementary Particles, in which the mother of the two characters totally sucks and which she seems to think is a representation of her. I mean, guilty conscience or what?

  14. I love Houllebecq, especially his latest, The Possibility of an Island. It seems like his darling Mum is just looking for attention. She couldn’t possibly write as well as he does.

  15. Niiiiiice, Raidsmith. That’s a keeper right there.

  16. Isn’t calling your own son a bastard sort of like calling yourself a bitch?

    When I was 6-years-old and sleeping over at a friends’ house, we unintentionally woke up his mother early in the morning with typical 6-year-old antics. I still remember how funny it was when she yelled at him, calling him a “son of a bitch.”

  17. She feels she’s not getting enough attention focused solely on her and stamps her foot under the table. “I haven’t written about him, I’ve written about myself! No! Fuck! I say no!” she thunders. She calls me a maniac obsessed with her son. “If I wasn’t Houellebecq’s mother, I would have written the same book. All you can reproach me for is not giving enough importance to my son, but that’s how it is.” Then she sits back and smiles sweetly at the polite restaurant staff.

    Wow.

    You couldn’t invent that character in a million years.

    Turns out this guy made a huge career out of abandonment issues. Actually, it’s kind of eerie how much this guy’s early life resembles that of Barack Obama.

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