Nearly fifteen years after the publication of his "unauthorized" biography of the writer Michel Houellebecq, the journalist Denis Demonpion recidivates by publishing on Thursday "Houellebecq the biography of a phenomenon".
In 2005, Denis Demonpion, Goncourt laureate of biography in 2018 for "Intimate Salinger", had tried to dissect the mysterious life of the author of "Elementary Particles" by telling the tumultuous relationship of the writer with his parents or his ambiguous relations with the Raelian sect.
At the time, the writer who had not wished to meet the journalist had denounced the unflattering portrait of him. "Michel Houellebecq only tolerates the writings of his thuriféraires," says Denis Demonpion in the preface to his new edition (400 pages, 24 euros, Buchet-Chastel).
Since 2005, Michel Houellebecq has won the Prix Goncourt (in 2010), he married (in 2018), received the Legion of Honor from the hands of President Emmanuel Macron (in 2019) and became one of the authors French most translated abroad.
The journalist tells all these episodes with a look always severe.
- Dependent portraits -
The Goncourt? Especially thanks to the interpersonal skills of the publisher Teresa Cremisi, "woman of influence and networks", suggests Denis Demonpion who evokes "maneuvers behind the scenes" so that "The map and the territory" wins the most prestigious literary awards from the French-speaking world.
The description of the evening that followed the attribution of the Goncourt prize to the writer is not flattering. "The night was already well advanced, champagne and alcohol had flowed, a taxi was called to accompany a Michel Houellebecq staggering.It was necessary to help him to get in the car.The next day it was scheduled on a TV set. ..
One gets tired of the portraits to load and sometimes not very elegant. "At the table, writes Denis Demonpion, he locks quite a lot, removes the case, in the most natural way, his denture in front of the guests, sometimes settling on his plate".
"Michel Houellebecq has become a product of appeal, a brand", says the biographer who enjoys that "we consult him for a yes, for a no".
When the journalist claims that the writer "has done a lot of excesses," he adds, "would the neurons have suffered?" "People buy (his books), concedes the biographer, even if by pinching his nose, for the thrill, the invective, the voyeurism, the hatred of the next, the possibility of scandal".
Stressing that the "reactionary" writer and the president Emmanuel Macron are "yours and yours", the biographer suggests that the next step in the writer's career could be his election to the French Academy.
"The perpetual secretary Hélène Carrère d'Encausse dreams of welcoming him under the Dome", he writes, adding that "he himself would see himself there".
"Under his appearance of anemic little king, Michel Houellebecq has cultivated an image of dandy exhausted, abraded, dilapidated, but it remains a fierce desire to dominate, to be the first," says Denis Demonpion.
To write his biography, the reporter did not meet the writer. However, he sent her an email to make an appointment. The 63-year-old writer declined but replied that "at least this time, you are sure I will not try to contradict you".
© 2019 AFP