Houellebecq, France’s most controversial modern writer, was hailed as the defining voice of nihilism after his novel Atomised 10 years ago. But he now compares the chattering classes’ hatred towards him to Nazism. He says his relationship with the French media is “total hatred”, and a “war of extermination” is being waged against him.
He writes of a pack hunting him down and says his critics would love to drive him to suicide or stop him writing. He has no qualms about living in Ireland as a tax exile, and fears he can never again do public readings in France.
Despite trying to cut back on the habit of scouring Google for references to himself, he admits he is paranoid, adding: “If there is anyone in France right now with excuses for being paranoid, it is me.”
Houellebecq also talks for the first time in detail about his parents, answering his mother, who recently published her own book calling him a “stupid little bastard”.