Realising that his New Year is probably going to be a disaster, as usual, our narrator, on impulse, walks into a travel agency to book a week in the sun. Sensitive to his limited means and dislike of Muslim countries, the travel agent suggests an island full of 21st century hedonism, set in a bizarre lunar landscape - Lanzarote.
On Lanzarote, one can meet some fascinating human specimens, notably Pam and Barbara - 'non-exclusive' German lesbians - who can give rise to some interesting combinations. Will they succeed in seducing Rudi, the police inspector from Luxembourg, currently living in exile in Brussels? Or will he join the 'Azraelian' sect, as they prepare for humanity to be regenerated by extra-terrestrials? As for our narrator, will he consider his week's holiday on the island a success?
Reads like a dream
Houellebecq captures the spirit of the age better than any other novelist, or any social historian, writing today
There is no other writer like him, at the moment, for wit, acuity or the transparent beauty of his prose. His themes are always big and bravely expounded
What Houellebecq has in abundance is an ability to turn commonplace events into high comedy-I enjoyed [Lanzarote] enormously