Platform – review

Platform by Michel Houellebecq, then. Yawn.

Michel (With His Annoying Autobiographical Implication), Valerie and Jean-Yves meet on holiday… Michel and Valerie have lots of sex… it’s all described very tediously and unerotically… they sometimes have sex with other people too… more description… I would rather eat my own arm than go near either of them… the three decide to expand their tourism business to include sex tourism in Thailand… or something… numerous pages are devoted to describing the tourism trade in France and Thailand… or something… they do so… I think… they all die or some of them die or one of them dies… I’m not really sure because I spent the last half of the book falling as l e e ppppppppppppp. The end… at last.

I don’t care about Houellebecq’s window to society and his conclusions on its nihilism and frustration – the man is dull. Not only that, but his characters are so uninteresting and impossible to like, one couldn’t care less what happens to them. I certainly didn’t. I should have remembered all this from Atomised, frankly, so I only have myself to blame. No more Houellebecq for me ever. I suggest you follow this advice, too.

13 responses to “Platform – review

  1. AMEN. Thank god there is another human being on earth that doesn’t like Houellebecq either. I read Atomised and I literally fell asleep reading it. Well, who knows me will say, yes you always fall asleep when reading. but who knows me will also know that I don’t when it’s in the morning. to make a long story short. I’m a morning person and I hate Houellebecq and now I’m happy cuz I’m not alone. Thank you for speaking my mind.

  2. Finn, I think there are a lot of us out there, you know. And I don’t imagine that it’s better in any language at all – the guy just isn’t a good writer and he takes on topics that are clearly way beyond his intellectual and creative reach.

  3. It’s criminal to take a good thing and ruin it. (Sex, that is. Not sex tourism.) I’ll stay away from this book, thank you. But I am curious enough to look-up what the title refers to…

    Tangentially, I’m reminded of a riveting (at least to me) book on the naughty and self-destructive adventures of a journalist in Thailand called “Butterfly Stories” by William T. Vollmann. It made for slightly queasy reading, but the style was cool.

  4. Doug, Houellebecq seems to rely on sex to sell his books. They’re always quite graphic, but in a very uninteresting way. It seems that in this one, he was trying to convey the notion that we (the West) are so disillusioned in our lives that sex is the only thing we want or think about, and that we are therefore prime customers for sex tourism. Interesting concept, you might argue, up until the point where he tries to illustrate this phenomenon through describing, ad nauseum, the ups and downs of the regular and sex tourism trade. That’s what he devoted most of this tripe to, so I wonder if he’s yet another writer who lost his way at some point when writing this. There are so many other ways to explore this theory, I’m sure.

  5. Oh God! I read ‘Atomised’ when it came out and found it the most compelling piece of crap ever! The only thing that propelled my trajectory through it was the morbid desire to find out what horribleness this nasty little man could pull out of his brain. I read an interview with him once, and he came across as a mentalist.

  6. That would make sense, yes. I have no idea why this guy is so popular. I wonder if all his brilliant reviews are by people who think that they should love his work and are reluctant to admit that they don’t like it.

  7. Thanks for the heads up! I sometimes find all the sex stuff in books a bit uncomfortable…. i’m no prude by any means, but sometimes it just ISN’T necessary!

    I’m the same with books by Ian Wotsit who wrote Atonement. Hate his books, hate hate…and i can’t believe they’ve won prizes…tedious over description and hateful characters.

  8. Precisely Pinky, I’m no prude either but so much of the sex in books is so unsexy!

    And the way you feel about Ian Wotsit (don’t even know him, I think) is how I feel about Dan Brown. Can’t stand him, think he should be run from the land, can’t believe any publisher would let him in the door, etc.

  9. Ian McEwan…. Atonement won some prize i think… and Keira is starring in the film… some people love him but i just ended up hating all the characters in that book by the end!

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