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“Platform” – by Michel Houellebecq

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France’s most controversial author, also a raging success; I cannot believe he is not frightened for his life after his public utterances trashing Islam. Unlike Rushdie, he appears to travel freely, without any protection whatsoever. Of course, he lives in Ireland, near Cork, where I suppose a Middle Eastern hit man would probably be somewhat conspicuous. From the book:

“Anything can happen in life, especially nothing.”

“There are some things that one can do, others that are too difficult. Gradually, everything becomes too difficult: that’s what life comes down to.”

“I was perfectly adapted to the information age: that is, good for nothing.”

His earlier book, “The Elementary Particles,” was praised to the skies and trashed equally frequently, both opinions from very eminent critics and thinkers. I found the book completely absorbing and compelling. To think that was the case reading it in translation from the original French, I can only sigh about how good it must be in the original.

His first book, “Whatever,” was a bestseller and won the 1995 Prix Flore for best first novel.

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