Michel is a civil-servant at the Ministry of Culture. When his father is murdered, Michel takes a leave of absence to go on a package tour to Thailand. Infuriated by the shallow hypocrisy and mediocrity of his fellow travellers, only the awkward Valerie attracts his attention. Too bashful to pursue her, Michel prefers the uncomplicated pleasures of Thai massage parlours and sex with local women.
Back in Paris, he calls Valerie and they plunge into a passionate affair, which strays into S&M, partner-swapping and sex in public. Michel quits his job, and tries to help Valerie and her boss, Jean-Yves, in their ailing travel business, by offering travel packages based on sex tourism in the third world. When their project comes to fruition and the three return to Thailand, Michel discovers that sex is neither the most consuming nor the most dangerous of human passions...
"With Atomised, you could see that Houellebecq was headed for greatness. With Platform he has attained it. The book is a stunning achievement"
"Reading Houellebecq is never deflating; it is, rather, a source of constant inspiration and delight. Would that we could produce his like in England"
"A brilliant novel"
"Michel Houellebecq has put contemporary French literature back on the map in a way not seen since Camus"
"There is something new and rare here, a genuinely unsettling wit with a terrible tang of truth"