24 December 2007

Michel Houellebecq, Lanzarote, 2000

Houellebecq at first seems deliberately trite, offensive and careless, but this is only to show the shallow arrogance of his Belgian protagonist. A pointless solitary holiday in Lanzarote leads to an encounter with a Rael-like extraterrestrial cult plus superficial graphic group sex with lesbians, then an unexpected look into what can happen to a life that has experienced too much. The superficiality of Lanzarote’s narrator is quickly exposed, leaving him discomfited by more seismic sexual tensions that he glimpses elsewhere, a contrast mirrored directly in the geological surface of Lanzarote’s once volcanic landscape. Clever if, necessarily, very adult stuff.   PY

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