Alibi V.12 No.37 • Sept 11-17, 2003 

Art Article

Platform: A Novel

Michel Houellebecq
Knopf
hardcover
$25

French novelist Michel Houellebecq isn't exactly known for writing cheeful, uplifting, feel-good stories. In novels like The Elementary Particles, Houellebecq showed a perverse talent for probing the darkest, most sinister reaches of the human soul. In his latest novel Platform, newly translated by Frank Wynne, Houellebecq is as cynical as ever in a story about an emotionally numb, sexually screwed-up bureaucrat who unwillingly tangles with a violent Muslim sect. Thankfully, advance readers have said the novel is clever and convincing enough to make this bleak and outwardly unpleasant tale well worth a read.