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Lanzarote [Paperback]

Michel Houellebecq
2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

3 Jun 2004

Realising that his New Year is probably going to be a disaster, as usual, our narrator, on impulse, walks into a travel agency to book a week in the sun. Sensitive to his limited means and dislike of Muslim countries, the travel agent suggests an island full of 21st century hedonism, set in a bizarre lunar landscape - Lanzarote.

On Lanzarote, one can meet some fascinating human specimens, notably Pam and Barbara - 'non-exclusive' German lesbians - who can give rise to some interesting combinations. Will they succeed in seducing Rudi, the police inspector from Luxembourg, currently living in exile in Brussels? Or will he join the 'Azraelian' sect, as they prepare for humanity to be regenerated by extra-terrestrials? As for our narrator, will he consider his week's holiday on the island a success?

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Lanzarote + The Possibility of an Island + Platform
Price For All Three: 21.27

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (3 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009944836X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099448365
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Reads like a dream" (Time Out)

"Houellebecq captures the spirit of the age better than any other novelist, or any social historian, writing today" (Literary Review)

"There is no other writer like him, at the moment, for wit, acuity or the transparent beauty of his prose. His themes are always big and bravely expounded" (Spectator)

"What Houellebecq has in abundance is an ability to turn commonplace events into high comedy-I enjoyed [Lanzarote] enormously" (Sunday Telegraph)

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

Book Description

'Tremendously enjoyable' Times Literary Supplement

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When a snack is as tasty as a meal. 9 July 2004
Mixed reviews for the hardback version of this book, mostly regarding its length. I enjoyed it immensely, but then, I never really got into 'Atomised', much preferring 'Platform'.
OK, 'Lanzarote' is a short (very short) story, in which nothing much happens. Whereas it was said of Beckett's greatest play 'nothing happens... twice', it could be argued that in 'Lanzarote' we don't even get double the nothingness. So what do we get?
A taut, well-written, evocative, erotic, snapshot of a brief moment in time. Like the photographs which accompany the novella, the text itself - the story - is one frame abstracted from a complete roll. Where the rest of that roll is, who knows? That isn't important.
Houellebecq speaks as he finds; unlike those British / American (there really isn't much difference these days - they're all racing for the prize) who dare not speak their minds, MH really doesn't seem to care. And that is why his fiction glows so brightly: it has the rare quality of honestly, and of respect.
Sometimes his characters are a little predictable insofar as we have preconceived ideas of national characteristics, but don't all authors and film-makers prey on this? Let's face it, the world is a small place, but 6 billion is an awful lot of people. We can't all be the same, have the same belief systems, despite BushBlair's best efforts.
But this takes us off the point really. The bottom line is that Houellebecq is a lighthouse in the middle of a dull grey sea (metaphorically speaking, obviously - though who knows what he looks like, his picture's not on the cover for whatever reason he sees fit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars short novella by Houellebecq 4 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Don't expect anything of any length in this story by Houellebecq. Perhaps that is what makes it enjoyable - a snack to be enjoyed in an hour or so. Houellebecq's protagonist (who doesn't wish to have another disapointing New Year) ends up in Lanzarote after wandering into a travel agent and being persuaded by a pushy assistant that this would suit him well. There he meets two German lesbians and a frustrated middle aged Belgian man. Some adventure follows, with the story having as its background a millenial cult called the Azraleans. Funny and bleak, with the odd warm spot, this novella says a lot about contemporay existence. Very good
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By Colm
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading Atomised, Platform, The possibility of an Island and most recently the Map and the Territory, I thought i'd delve into Lanzarote. The length did intrigue me as I often find in his works, an exposition is steady and built up over hundreds of pages, but this novelette is classic Houellebecq. The concept seems to be an amalgamation of concepts which are displayed in greater detail in his later novels; the theme of holiday resorts is apparent throughout and the satire created in these sections made me laugh. The dysphemistic tone is reoccurring and other themes such as religion and mortality were directly tackled. I like the work of Houellebecq and it's obvious nihilism is his forte, but sometimes these views seem excessive and as if they're being coerced onto the reader. I enjoyed the character of police officer Rudi and I think what's best about him is the imminent decline, subtly foreshadowed throughout. It felt just like a bit on the side, but it was a good read and managed to perserve depth, though the length restricted this to some extent. I ordered a second hand hardcover copy for 2..81 (including P&P) and from what I can tell this is a new copy; no signs of wear at all so I am elated with the condition of the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Houllebecq 7 Mar 2014
By javier
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As usual MH manages not to leave you have an easy time while reading this. Less sharp than Atomised thought + with the same level of erotism, but compress in under 200 pages.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I like Houellebecq.. 15 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
But I was slightly dissapointed with Lanzarote. Its a very short book, which I don't mind at all, as endless boring description gets on my wick. But it may be too short to have any real relevance, or maybe it just didn't resonate, or I just don't get it.

Lanzarote is worth a visit, especially in winter, but take something else to read, Atomised, or Whatever are better books in my opinion.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly disappointing 11 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is very short but not nearly short enough. The 'novel' is a paper-thin pastiche of Houellebecq's earlier sex-tourism tales. As usual, Houellebecq hints at a spurious and vague underlying nihilism, to inject some intellectual credibility. However, the story and characters are so weak and poorly realised that the work is a dismal failure, lacking the vim and wit of his better works such as Atomised.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Short and not very sweet 16 Dec 2009
One or two interesting ideas and comments on the times, as always with Houellebecq, though not as well-developed as in 'Atomised' and 'Platform'. Not much else apart from the usual doses of gratuitous sex, rants against religion, especially Islam, and Belgium (for some reason).
I got the impression he couldn't be bothered putting much effort into this book. Just make a quick buck. Needless to say it wouldn't have been published if he wasn't already famous, or infamous. I suggest you read 'Platform' first, if you want the best of Houellebecq.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking novella
Lanzarote can be read easily enough sat down one evening after dinner. It is very funny and very acutely observed. Read more
Published 23 months ago by M. Hallett
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious or what !!!
This is possibly the worst book I have ever read - luckily it is very short. I have to assume that it loses everything in the translation from French.
Published on 5 Jun 2011 by Don M
1.0 out of 5 stars What a waste of time!
I judge a book by its cover; I also judge it by its author and what he or she has written before, which is why I picked up Lanzarote, along with the rest of Houellebecq's work,... Read more
Published on 23 May 2009 by Richard Kunzmann
4.0 out of 5 stars Platform Pared of the Padding
After slogging through the misogynist, anti-Arab rant that is Platform this is the same idea, but hugely pared down and more enjoyable for its brevity. Read more
Published on 20 Dec 2008 by S. Hartwell
1.0 out of 5 stars Lanzarote is one of the most beautiful islands in Europe
How dare they call Lanzarote uncultural and hedonistic? It is not the island that is uncultural and hedonistic but the badly educated common tourists that travel there and remain... Read more
Published on 31 July 2007 by J. Larrad
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to offer
Loved his other books - not this one though. It covers many of the same themes but nowhere near as well. Read more
Published on 15 Mar 2006 by J. Dunn
1.0 out of 5 stars Betrayal
I have given this 'pamphlet' one star because reading Houellebecq at this level is still better than reading most things. Read more
Published on 20 Nov 2004
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