Platform

Author:   Michel Houellebecq
Publisher:   Vintage Publishing
Edition:   New edition
ISBN:  

9780099437888


Pages:   368
Publication Date:   01 September 2003
Format:   Paperback
Availability:   To order   Availability explained
Stock availability from the supplier is unknown. We will order it for you and ship this item to you once it is received by us.

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Full Product Details

Author:   Michel Houellebecq
Publisher:   Vintage Publishing
Imprint:   Vintage
Edition:   New edition
Dimensions:   Width: 12.90cm , Height: 2.30cm , Length: 19.80cm
Weight:   0.255kg
ISBN:  

9780099437888


ISBN 10:   0099437880
Pages:   368
Publication Date:   01 September 2003
Audience:   General/trade ,  General
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   To order   Availability explained
Stock availability from the supplier is unknown. We will order it for you and ship this item to you once it is received by us.
Language:   English

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Michel is a civil-servant at the Ministry of Culture. When his father is murdered, Michel takes a leave of absence to go on a package tour to Thailand. Infuriated by the shallow hypocrisy and mediocrity of his fellow travellers, only the awkward Valerie attracts his attention. Too bashful to pursue her, Michel prefers the uncomplicated pleasures of Thai massage parlours and sex with local women. Back in Paris, he calls Valerie and they plunge into a passionate affair, which strays into S&M, partner-swapping and sex in public. Michel quits his job, and tries to help Valerie and her boss, Jean-Yves, in their ailing travel business, by offering travel packages based on sex tourism in the third world. When their project comes to fruition and the three return to Thailand, Michel discovers that sex is neither the most consuming nor the most dangerous of human passions...


'Reading Houellebecq is like being caught up in a tropical storm: you are blown away by the ferocity of his imagination' Observer


With Atomised, you could see that Houellebecq was headed for greatness. With Platform he has attained it. The book is a stunning achievement Evening Standard Reading Houellebecq is never deflating; it is, rather, a source of constant inspiration and delight. Would that we could produce his like in England Observer A brilliant novel -- Anita Brookner Michel Houellebecq has put contemporary French literature back on the map in a way not seen since Camus -- David Sexton Evening Standard There is something new and rare here, a genuinely unsettling wit with a terrible tang of truth Sunday Telegraph


From the famous, or infamous, Houellebecq (The Elementary Particles, 2000): a pale imitation of himself at his scandalous and probing best. A narrator once again named Michel (at 40, resigned to life-as-disappointment) works for the Ministry of Culture in Paris arranging shows of contemporary artists' work. When his hated father dies and leaves money, he takes a vacation to Thailand, where, between massage parlor delights, he meets a travel agent named Valerie, traveling on the same package. The two don't hit it off in exotic and erotic Thailand, but, back in Paris, they plunge into an explicitly rendered psychosexual bliss ( I don't know if I'll be able to get it up right away. Then go down on me. It'll do me good ). Valerie's boss, Jean-Yves, it turns out, is offered a great position with a new company ( Is it a big company? I'd say so; it's the biggest hotel chain in the world ), where he's charged with reviving a slumping segment of the company's worldwide chain of resorts. Valerie goes along as a partner, but it's narrator- lover Michel who comes up with the truly brilliant idea about how to pull the resorts out of their slump ( Offer [clubs] where the people get to fuck ), as a consequence of which there's comes to be born a whole new corporate investment in sex tourism, of exactly the kind Michel had enjoyed back in Thailand-the very place, once the new line of Aphrodite clubs has proven to be an enormous money-making success, that Michel, Valerie, and Jean-Yves return to for a celebratory vacation of their own. Bummer, though! After some initial episodes of great sex ( After a time I no longer knew how many hands or fingers stroked and wrapped around my prick ), there's a terrorist attack on the club, turbaned men firing machine guns, a bomb going off. With tragic results indeed. Posturing, silly, sophomoric-though the glib Houellebecq is good at trying to make you think otherwise. (Kirkus Reviews)


After the murder of his father, Michel, a French bureaucrat, goes on a package holiday to Thailand. Solitary and cynical, he is dismissive of much that others in his group find important but he does take one thing seriously: sex, which alone compensates him for the miseries of life. His matter-of-fact acceptance of sexual tourism and his enthusiastic (and often graphically described) participation in sexual activities, aided by drink and Viagra, underline the sordidness of the industry. On his return to France, he keeps in contact with fellow traveller Valerie and, much against expectation, finds happiness - and an even more active sex life - with her. She works for the company which organized their holiday, but is soon head-hunted with her boss by a tour business looking to expand. Michel's suggestion that certain tour resorts should specialize in adult sex tourism is welcomed as a new direction for the tourist industry and leads to a return visit to Thailand, which ends in disaster. Michel Hoellebecq paints a bleak picture of countries like Thailand that cannot survive industrially and need Western investment; we in the West, he says, 'have created a system in which it has become impossible to live; and we continue to export it'. Winner of the 2002 IMPAC Award, Hoellebecq has an unsparing eye for the follies and horrors of our world, and his descriptions of an alienated and crumbling society in which violence and crime on the streets of Paris find their mirror image in the emotional violence of casual sex, and of the tourism which destroys the very thing it seeks, will shock but give the reader much to think about. (Kirkus UK)


Author Information

Michel Houellebecq lives in County Cork, Ireland. He is the author of two previous novels, Atomised and Whatever. He is also a poet, essayist and rap artist.

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