Houellebecq lets himself down with Lanzarote. Unlike his most recent full length novels – Atomised and Platform – this novella is not book of ideas. Once again his fascination with tourism as a means by which society might attempt to live out its fantasies is present. Yet here Houellebecq fails to take this idea forward and illuminate society’s darker side and fault lines.
Lanzarote might be the holiday Platform’s narrator took before going on that novel’s journey. The view of the world is the same, but here it is more crudely articulated; as if it has yet to be thought through or intellectualised. Consequently, one feels less sympathetic towards the project. For example, while the sex scenes are not as explicit as those in Platform, Lanzarote is somehow more pornographic because the book is so lacking in substance.
(originally posted to Amazon February 22, 2004)
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