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Platform by Michel Houellebecq

In Platform, Michel Renault is a hollow man with an empty existence occassionally filled by pre-packaged trips and pornography. When he gains an inheritance after his father is murdered, he goes on a tour of Thailand and meets a Frenchwoman named Valerie. He and Valerie hit it off immediately. Back in France, with his money and her contacts in the travel industry, they decide to get into the sex tourism business. Their business in Thailand is then attacked by a Muslim terrorist group. This is the sketchy outline of a plot that was deemed scandalous for its porn and bigotry by some when this novel was released in France in 2001. It's unsuprising that a novel this incendiary has received mixed reviews. Perhaps the New York Times says it best when it starts its review, "Michel Houellebecq is an ugly writer, vulgar, often silly, sex-obsessed. His heroes are unprepossessing loners, eaters of junk food and watchers of far too much television, and generally, egotistically, they are named Michel." and then says in the next paragraph, "Houellebecq can also be a terrific writer, funny and prophetic, more feverishly alive to the world around him than are many authors more tasteful, less offensive, less willing to take risks." You may love or hate Platform, and possibly both at the same time.
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Buy Platform by Michel Houellebecq
New York Times review
by Jenny Turner

San Francisco Chronicle review
by Max Winter

The Observer review
by Jason Cowley

The Guardian review
by James Buchan

The New Yorker review
by Julian Barnes

The Telegraph review
by Toby Clements

The Telegraph review
by George Walden

January Magazine review
by Pedro Blas Gonzalez

New York Times review
by Janet Maslin

Village Voice review
by Joshua Clover

Michel Houellebecq
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