- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (4 Sept. 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099437880
- ISBN-13: 978-0099437888
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 140,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Platform Paperback – 4 Sep 2003
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"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)
'Reading Houellebecq is like being caught up in a tropical storm: you are blown away by the ferocity of his imagination' ObserverSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Yet the world needs such authors more than it needs booker prize winners, and here is another work of art we can turn to if we wish to understand, or at least frame the debate, on some of the great issues and tensions of the age.
Through means of a story that revolves mainly around the far eastern sex trade, Houellebecq asks questions about the point of modern western civlisation, a civilisation which seems to have only hedonistic pleasure and 'individuality' remaining as values. I don't think Houellebecq is making a damning indictment of the sins of the flesh here ( you can't read some of his passages or anything about his private life to believe that) but rather expressing a somewhat gloomy Schopenhauerian kind of view that the human animal is just not meant to be happy and contented, that a fat and bloated west will not be able to begin a sustainable phase of contented pleasure seeking because nature just doesn't do happiness as an end in itself. Nature merely serves us short-term hedonistic tricks that might reward its own darwinian purposes, but not the ultimate contentment of the human being.Read more ›
Camus is a clear influence on Houellebecq. Paralleling the death of Meursault's mother in The Outsider, Platform begins with the death of Michel the narrator's father. Michel mirrors Meursault's emotional detachment from the loss. Like Meursault, Michel is a morally detached individual, refusing to conform to the expectations of Western civilization and society, pursuing instead his own path of libertinism. And just as in The Outsider, Michel is caught up in conflicting cultures.
Platform quite deliberately raises troubling authorial questions. Is Michel the narrator simply a mouthpiece for Michel the author's views? It is not an easy question to answer, but one which persists throughout the novel and impacts on the way in which it is read. For Michel the author has courted trouble in France for his disparaging views on Islam, Christianity and Judaism; and Michel the narrator holds various controversial and unsettling opinions, most notably on Islam and on the subject of sex tourism, on which neutrality on the reader's part is not an obvious option.Read more ›
Platform is funny and heartbreaking, in the driest ways possible. It made me feel the way Lolita made me feel the first time I read it, but with language reminiscent of Camus (at least in this translation anyway).
I don't really know how to write reviews, but this novel seems to speak with such a personal tongue, almost like a niggling voice in your own head that tells you not to trust your best friend, that I figured I might as well tell any potential readers; don't be potential, just read the thing.
Anyone who has friends between the ages of thirty and fifty will surely recognise the predicament of the characters in the book with regard to personal and sexual relationships. H also uses sexuality as a metaphor for pleasure and the pursuit of happiness in general in a world where evrything has been given an economic value and been marketed accordingly.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Houellebecq claims that 'it is in our relations to other people that we gain a sense of our selves, it's that, pretty much, that makes relations with other people unbearable. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Manto
Following Atomised, Michel Houellebecq delves further into sex, death and the meaninglessness of life in Platform. Read morePublished 13 months ago by The Outsider
Interesting read with some quirky post-modern aspects that evoke irony and a wry sense of parody. I am interested by the narrative voice, although there is a clear racist subtext... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Tristan Verran
Michel Houellebeck’s third novel is now almost 15 years old now, but recent events have made it very timely, perhaps even more so than at the time than it was written. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Andres C. Salama
It's certainly provocative. There's rather too much gratuitous sex in this to make it a classic but there again a major theme of the book is sex tourism. Read morePublished 21 months ago by tpryan
Houellebecq doesn't take any prisoners. There is no pandering to multiculturalism or other socially acceptable norms. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Geek Tragedy