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Waiting for Houellebecq

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“A country road, a tree. Evening,” go the set directions for Waiting For Godot. Directions for the talk between Michel Houellebecq and Adam Lindemann on 2 June at the French Embassy might well have begun: “A bust of Descartes, a TV. Noonish.” Yes, the provocative author challenged his audience by not showing up to promote his show at Lindemann’s gallery Venus. “I went over to the embassy to apologise,” Lindemann emailed after the event, “and to my surprise they were all somewhat amused—apparently Houellebecq rarely shows up to his own lectures, and his fans all come expecting him not to appear.”