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Platform

by Michel Houellebecq, Frank Wynne

ISBN 0375414622 / 9780375414626 / 0-375-41462-2
Publisher Knopf
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

Michel Renault is a human void. Following the death of the father he barely knew, he endures his civil ser-
vice job while eking out an existence of prepackaged pleasure, hollow friendships, TV dinners, and pornography. On a group holiday in Thailand, however, he meets the shyly compelling Valérie, who soon pursues an agenda that Michel himself could never have thought possible: his own humanization.

Back in Paris, they plunge into an affair that strays into S&M, public sex, and partner swapping, even as they devise a scheme to save Valéries ailing travel company by capitalizing on the only trade Michel has seen flourish in the Third World. Before long, he quits his job, and their business model for sex tourism is gradually implemented. But when they return to Thailand, where Michels philosophy will be put into practice, he discovers that sex is neither the most consuming nor dangerous of passions . . .

From a suburbanized West crippled by hate crime to an East subsumed by materialism, Michel Houellebecq exploreswith characteristic provocativeness, but also with surprising tendernessthe emotions that seem most resilient to any influence: love and hate. Platform is, as Anita Brookner has written, a brilliant novel, casting a prescient eye on the abuses and inequalities that lead to wider trouble. [via]