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3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  10,777 Ratings  ·  596 Reviews
Michel Renault is a human void. Following the death of the father he barely knew, he endures his civil service 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 possi ...more
Published September 5th 2002 by William Heinemann Ltd (first published July 13th 2001)
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Paul Bryant
Nov 28, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
An 18-rated review of an 18-rated book.

If you don’t want to read about the gory details of fleshy entangulations and of bodily fluid by the bucketful, then you need to steer well clear of M. Houellebecq. He’s all about that.

The sex is like the worst kind of bad cartoon porn and we can’t possibly be meant to take it seriously. I don’t really know what it’s doing in here. He’s trying to make a serious or black-comedy ironic point about the state of first world/third world relationships and how e
Plateforme contains a remarkable amount of sex and is inordinately depressing, but it's well-written, engaging and quite often funny. Houellebecq evidently believes that he's watching the last days of Western civilization, if not of humanity as a whole, and he's interested in exploring what went wrong. He thinks that it's something very much to do with how we experience sex, and how the desire for sex acts on us.

So, here we have dull, inert, 40-ish Michel, who hates his job, has no partner or o
Jul 31, 2007 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with a high threshold for misanthropy
I just finished this today, reading outside by a corporate fountain on pine street. Fitting considering the book is a brilliant commentary on the intersection of globalization and sexualtiy, or what's left of sensuality in western culture. Houellebecq loves a good disaffected misanthrope and sometimes it's hard to follow an unreliable narrator who's got such a pessimistic worldview but this book really opens up. I didn't get annoyed with the characters the way I did through most of The Elementar ...more
Diese widerliche Sexismusphilosophe von Houellebecq ist schwer zu ertragen. Ein ältlicher verbrauchter fader alter Sack von einem Staatsangestellten, der auf einer 10teiligen Attraktivitätsskala eine 0,5 belegt, sudert und philosophiert über die Unlust europäischer Frauen, und beschwert sich, dass sie von ihm verlangen, zumindest intelligent oder witzig zu sein, wo er sich ja so gar nicht anstrengen möchte. Gleichzeitig will er eine Frau mit dem Ranking von 10+2 und fordert im Gegenzug alles von ...more
Jun 14, 2007 Brendan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i'm really into this guy right now. he seems to hate everything, which i can appreciate. this had a surprising tenderness to it, in comparison to The Elementary Particles, even though there's plenty of bitter social critique. what i like most is Houellebecq's realization that the we in the West are like the declining Roman Empire. he's able to articulate this thesis through his characters but as well as through interjections on social theory.

this book is not without flaws, in particular its stra
Sep 11, 2013 Virginia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Graphic sex! Racism! Misogyny! Sex tourism! Are you offended yet?

I don't think I can say anything about the misogyny that hasn't already been said. Yes, it's misogynistic. Boringly, predictably so. We get it; women are stupid, worthless whores. Is it wrong of me to wish for a little more innovation in my morning dose of bigotry?

But look at Valérie, some say. Valérie is perfect (which is a problem in itself). She has it all: youth, outstanding looks, superior skills in bed, a lot of money, a very
Aug 15, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was fun, in a kind of infuriating way. It exists, more or less, to elicit criticism, which I have in spades. Here's the summary: dude, get a life.
The protagonist -- who's more or less to be identified with the author -- enjoys just about nothing other than sex, and even that leaves him numb by the end. Yes yes much of the plot involves his being in love, but he and his love interest (a fantasy creature who always has a cup of coffee for him after his morning blowjob) never seem
Jan 04, 2013 Arjen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-dutch, philosophy
O yes! Houellebecq, be my guide and saviour! Typical stuff for Houellebecq, modern day society is all about the economic struggle and / or the sexual struggle. Pick one. Most of Houellebecq's characters fail in either or both of these struggles, can't handle the pressure, then turn to self destructive behaviour. Or, they are highly successful in one or both of these struggles, can't handle the pressure, then turn to self descructive behaviour. I love it.

I would like to refer to my friend Jean's
Libros Prohibidos
Oct 20, 2015 Libros Prohibidos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No parece difícil que a alguien le guste Houellebecq, pero resulta una lectura tan dura pese a los elogios que tampoco le deseamos este sentimiento a nadie. Merece mucho la pena, pero allá quien se atreva. Para nosotros, una de las mejores lecturas de este año. Reseña completa:
Jun 09, 2012 Erik rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

A vicious and incredibly bleak social critique that is as subtle and incendiary as a suicide bomber. Houellebecq’s horror and hatred of our modern world spills from nearly every page; nothing is sacred and no one is spared. The novel is narrated by Michel, a pessimistic middle-aged man who, to his mind, lives in an era so corroded by consumerism, narcissism and terrorism that genuine human contact or happiness can only be obtained through the blissful abandon of sexual orgasm – even if it’s with

Carolyn Heinze
Aug 03, 2007 Carolyn Heinze rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lifestooshort
Picked this up out of curiousity, and I can see why he is such a hit in France. There is a category of people here that embraces forced cynicism and intellectual masturbation. Frankly, I couldn't find anything smart about it, but perhaps I'm limited. Funny, I got to page 107 before deciding that time is too precious to waste on something I don't like - the same number of pages I read of Céline's equally irritating Voyage au bout de la nuit - a staple of French literature (and a book one shouldn' ...more
Nate D
Mar 21, 2014 Nate D rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the doldrums of cultural collapse
Recommended to Nate D by: murderous French aristocrats
Shelves: france, read-in-2012
Accepting dubious recommendations from the narrator of The Marbled Swarm, who perused a few pages of this in order to be able to appear to to have read it in conversation.

What is it? Essentially, sociological investigation and provocation through the lens of the international tourism economy:

I liked holiday brochures, their abstraction, their way of condensing the places of the world into a limited sequence of possible pleasures and fares. I was particularly fond of the star rating system, whic
Nov 12, 2008 maggie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Houllebecq is a dirty, dirty man. He's dirty, he's cynical and unrelentingly critical (critical is a benign word for his skewering, by the by) of contemporary French (and American) culture and society. It is for precisely these reasons that the end of this novel, a retelling of The Stranger, is so astonishing and incredibly beautiful--perhaps one of the most beautiful and poignant things I've ever read.(That's right--I said "ever." Bring it.) It is both a popular (I will NOT read another book ab ...more
Marcello S
Apr 06, 2015 Marcello S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In tutta una vita ci sono sprazzi di godimento, se ti va bene di amore.
Se hai la fortuna di provarli, fatteli bastare. Non è detto che tornino. Meglio, non torneranno.

Ok, un po’ cinico e disperato il vecchio Houellebecq. Un po’ estremo.

Ma racconta anche qua di grandi scopate? Cavolo se lo fa.
Anche qua siamo soli al mondo e difficilmente qualcuno verrà a salvarci? Certo.

Non è del tutto chiaro se quello che mette in bocca ai personaggi siano i suoi pensieri.
In tal caso ci sarebbe da discutere par
Maru Kun
I admire how French intellectuals can look at the same fundamental issues of the human condition from so many different angles.

In the "Myth of Sisyphus" Camus examines the absurdity of human existence through a careful analysis of whether or not we should commit suicide. He includes references to many great works of literature which I wish I had the time to read.

In "Platform" Houellebecq examines the absurdity of human existence through a careful analysis of the marketing strategy of mid-market
Leo Robertson
Relevant to something I'm researching- can't think why anyone else would read it.

Tedious and meandering.

Every time I read 'Clearly man was never meant to be happy', it's like, that kind of statement is something no one in the entire universe can make because they don't have access to enough information in order to make it. All it means is 'I am an unhappy man.' Boo hoo lol.

Man was meant to decide whether or not he wants to be happy. He can be unhappy if he wants, but why?
Silvia Sirea
Nel momento in cui mi accingo a scrivere le impressioni che mi ha suscitato questo libro, sono ancora abbastanza perplessa. Il cinismo regna sovrano in Piattaforma e trasuda fin dalla primissima pagina. Il protagonista del romanzo è Michel, il quale narra la vicenda, che viene suddivisa dall'autore in tre parti, in prima persona.

Michel decide di partire per la Thailandia in seguito alla morte improvvisa del padre che gli ha lasciato in eredità una cospicua somma di denaro. Quarantenne celibe con
Michael Meeuwis
Jan 13, 2013 Michael Meeuwis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One and a half stars, and I'll explain why at the end. Reads like a cross between "Penthouse Letters," Zizek's C-level material, and--for one vertiginous stretch in the middle--Thomas Friedman at his hottest and flattest. Pauvre Michel is having sex-life problems, until he has sex with a Thai prostitute--apparently third-world women can still make the sex properly. (Their economic privation has saved them from western-style alienation.) Then he meets Valerie, a first-world woman who--néanmoins-- ...more
Jul 17, 2011 Jasminka rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, 2011
I just finished this, and I'm not sure of what I think and how many stars to give...
What bothers me the most is his vulgarism and literally - pornography (he could write sex scenes in much more subtle way) and mostly because of this I didn't gave 4 stars.
This book is very well-written (except for the dirty sex scenes that I didn't like), and full of brilliant insights of global politics, economics, sex-tourism, politics and religions, the nature of the individual, the meaning of life.... A very
This is a surprise literary gem... If you excuse the masochism and the graphic sexuality (which shouldn't be a surprise, considering the bikini-clad hottie on the cover) Essentially, it's a story about love and loss and moving on (or not) It's about sexuality, about western ideals versus eastern and third world. The world we're living in, at least for the narrator, is a bleak one when it comes to gender roles. A lot of questions are asked in regards to the attractiveness of sexual tourism, witho ...more
Paul A.
Jan 18, 2015 Paul A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

After reading this novel, I confirm that Houellebecq is the kind of writers that is hard to find nowadays. He writes about how he see the world, he doesn't write what other want to read. Nowadays, most of the writers are just business man, trying to sell their books without compromise them selfs exposing a philosophy or and idea. Houellebecq just write what he thinks, analyzing the present, and projecting to the future.

In Platform we can read strong compliments against occident, th
Lu Cassidy
Jul 07, 2016 Lu Cassidy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Страхотна книга. Модерно писане. Няма излишна дума.
Sep 11, 2016 Gergana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
ей така като ми завливат празно в празно някои писатели..нищо. нула. вакуум. с една дума - извинявай, че се видяхме, Уелбек. :( втората звезда е заради обещаващото начало и фразата " Татко, татко, колко си суетен. " дано се засечем при по-добри обстоятелства и по- добра книга. едва ли скоро.
Apr 12, 2009 Eugene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
probably the worst houellebecq i've read, but still pretty good. a cynical bastard--but the guy can write. and, for social commentary, if you squint and look through the layers of provocation, it's not so shoddy an analysis.

e.g. published a half decade before THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, houellebecq writes about a corporate office in suburban France:
"'It's strange,' he said to her. 'Here we are inside the company like well-fed beasts of burden. And outside are the predators, the savage world. I was in S
Jim Fonseca
Sep 06, 2015 Jim Fonseca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-authors
I think a good subtitle for this book is Sex and the Self-Centered Man.
Anomie. A self-centered man is incapable of loving anyone except himself and he is not really all that keen on that relationship either. He’s basically a misogynist and a xenophobe. Finally he finds a woman who more or less loves him, or tolerates him, and he apparently “kind of” loves her back. She is in the business of working for an international hotel chain that is setting up sex hotels in Thailand. Not all cultures of th
Jul 18, 2007 elizabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: misogynist pricks
Houellebecq has his moments of funny, particularly in describing the merdique travails of modern air travel. And it's not his statement in this book that Islam is a violent religion that particularly earned my vitriol. Nor is it his "provocative" thesis that the only way to save the French tourism industry is through sex tourism, though both of those seem to have done it for a number of readers. Clever man that he is, Houellebecq sets up his provocations so that any critics just sound like shril ...more
Jul 25, 2015 Asyoulikeit rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
this man is able to attract loads of fuss about him nowadays. for me he's just slightly above average. he feels the urge to shock à la Céline while all the way he's trying to keep it cool and impersonal like Camus does. The result is largely a disjointed mess as in the lack of any point in all the 'death of the father' subplot at the beginning, or in the interminable first trip in Thailand which holds little importance, at that length, in the novel’s basic idea. But don’t worry, dear reader, for ...more
Apr 11, 2015 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
Gosh, there is so much to this book, including some really quite profound observations. There is also quite a bit of gratutious sex, as if Houllebecq kept getting horny by all his intensity and had to mix it up a bit. Fair enough. Unfortunately, a review on the back of my copy of the book had the ENDING REVEALED in it. Really very, very annoying, as the end is quite a turnaround from the rest of the book, though the clues are there. So what is this book about? Good question...the decline of the ...more
I had to give a presentation on this book in my "Travel Writing" class during my Sophomore year of college. The experience of reading the book had been so conflicted--Is sex fulfillling, or just the purest expression of how empty human life is? Does Houellebecq hate everyone or just Muslims?--that it probably wasn't my finest collegiate moment. It did, however, allow me to use the word 'sodomy' in an academic context and get into a near shouting match with a woman who I would one day come to rec ...more
Marissa Barbieri
May 01, 2008 Marissa Barbieri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I complained to my buddy John about burning out on GOOD books and needing to be BLOWN AWAY and he recommended Houellebecq (whose name I love!). And while I wasn't particularly blown away by the writing itself, or the plot, I did find the tone, and the philosophy of the main character quite fascinating. I can't figure out where the "recommended to" button is on this business, but I would recommend it to horny misanthropes. You're in good company here!

(I'd also like to point out I didn't know it h
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Michel Houellebecq (born Michel Thomas), born 26 February 1958 (birth certificate) or 1956 on the French island of Réunion, is a controversial and award-winning French novelist. To admirers he is a writer in the tradition of literary provocation that reaches back to the Marquis de Sade and Baudelaire; to detractors he is a peddler of sleaze and shock. Having written poetry and a biography of the h ...more
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