Mon enfant, ma mère


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.