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Platform Paperback – 4 Sep 2003

3.8 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)

Product Description

Review

"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)

Book Description

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

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Houellebecq is a man who breaks taboo's, probably the only major author alive who tackles subjects such as sexual tourism, paedophilia, the alieness of islamic culture, inter-racial sexual attraction, all of which are surely some of the most noteworthy socio-historical phenomonen of the new millenium, yet not the topics that tend to win backslapping literary awards, especially not when tackled with the distinctive Houellebecqian pens of political incorrectness and semi-pornography.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Platform is a fine novel. It's readable, it's intelligent and funny, but above all, and like most really good literature, it's challenging, troubling, and puts forward more questions than answers. A strong narrative holds together the many different facets to the novel: love story, pornography, analysis of the travel industry, philosophy, moral inquiry, critique of globalization and Western civilization.
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.
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By A Customer on 26 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback
So some people loathe him. Some people think he's racist and sexist. Some people say he moved to Ireland due to the hatred he has encountered from the content of his novels. Well stuff those some people.
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.
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Format: Paperback
This book does not have the visceral power to shock and move of Atomised had there is no sign that the author intended it to. It is a clinical analysis of what has gone wrong with our personal relationships in the West and, from that point of view, deeply sad. The narrative's internal logic draws the reader in so that, by the time the narrator's, and reader's world, is shattered at the end of the book it comes as a shock to remember that the moral structure of the narrator's life would be repugnant to a religious fundamentalist of any hue. I wonder, in fact, if this book is his comment on September 11th, or, more generally, the clash of civilisations, as Huntingdon termed it. More specifically, perhaps we are all forgetting the Bali bombing in which Muslim fundamentalists targetted a symbol of the sort of lifestyle that H describes, in a similar location to the Thailand of the book.
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.
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