Paris — Provocative French author Michel Houellebecq’s highly anticipated new novel, in which he appears to foretell the “yellow vest” revolt, looked set to become an instant bestseller after going on sale on Friday. Houellebecq, a fierce euro-sceptic, became a pin-up of the far right after his last book, Submission, which envisioned a France subject to sharia law after electing a Muslim president in 2022. The deeply depressed hero of his latest book, Sérotonine, is an agricultural engineer who returns to his roots in a provincial France devastated by globalisation and European agricultural policies. He finds a resentful rural populace who are “virtually dead” yet ripe for rebellion and who rise up to block motorways, much as the yellow vest movement has done since late November. Houellebecq’s seventh novel, written long before protesters in high-visibility vests began barricading roads to protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s policies, has been hailed by critics as eerily pre...

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