A Novel

Book - 2003
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Michel Renault is a human void. Following the death of the father he barely knew, he endures his civil ser- vice job while eking out an existence of prepackaged pleasure, hollow friendships, TV dinners, and pornography. On a group holiday in Thailand, however, he meets the shyly compelling Valérie, who soon pursues an agenda that Michel himself could never have thought possible: his own humanization. Back in Paris, they plunge into an affair that strays into S&M, public sex, and partner swapping, even as they devise a scheme to save Valérie's ailing travel company by capitalizing on the only trade Michel has seen flourish in the Third World. Before long, he quits his job, and their business model for "sex tourism" is gradually implemented. But when they return to Thailand, where Michel's philosophy will be put into practice, he discovers that sex is neither the most consuming nor dangerous of passions . . . From a suburbanized West crippled by hate crime to an East subsumed by materialism, Michel Houellebecq explores--with characteristic provocativeness, but also with surprising tenderness--the emotions that seem most resilient to any influence: love and hate.Platformis, as Anita Brookner has written, "a brilliant novel, casting a prescient eye on the abuses and inequalities that lead to wider trouble."
Publisher: New York : Knopf, c2003
ISBN: 9780375414626
Branch Call Number: F Hou
Additional Contributors: Wynne, Frank


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Aug 02, 2017

Some feelings and observations on reading the book:
-this book is not pornographic as reflected in an earlier comment. Parts can be considered erotic, however in the context of the book, entirely justifiable.
-whether or not it's credible, the author seems to have a really good handle on the tour development business. Reading this book from that perspective alone makes it a worthwhile read.
-because of this book, Houellebecq was charged with inciting racial hatred and violence in France. The courts found for him and all charges were dropped. Throughout the book, the narrator makes all sorts of observations on Western Civilization, its good and bad points. In the process, he also notes the regression that he sees in Islamic-based countries today and contrasts that to Islam's Golden Age when these same societies were in the vanguard of literary, scientific and mathematical knowledge and were as much if not more progressive that their European counterparts still floundering in the Middle Ages. It should be noted that this theme occupies only a very minor part of the book.

Overall, it's a good read!

Feb 03, 2016

This one struck me at first as being too pornographic, but Platform satirizes rather well a decadent, corrupt civilization which is attempting to liquidate itself. And so Houellebecq gives us a narrator who is basically a common secular low life with a mundane job in a low level government department.

It wasn't easy, however, to see Valérie as a knave of secular humanism. Like the narrator, she was one of its many dupes when she was younger. Further, some of the characters offered to ridicule foolishness should have been made more vidid. The S&M wife, a lawyer, would have been a good candidate for this by inserting into her mouth the usual Progressive cliches and tropes about compassion, inequality, freedom of expression, etc.

Jan 31, 2012

If you'd like to read a novel exploring disconnection from society, why not Camus' L'étranger? I can't say I was scandalized by this book in any way, but I don't feel it was breaking new ground.


Add Notices

Apr 01, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Apr 01, 2008

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Find it at PPL

To Top