Platform: A Novel
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 Vale rie, 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 Vale rie' s 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 Michel' s 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 explores-- with characteristic provocativeness, but also with surprising tenderness-- the 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."