Empty Days

Sunday, July 04, 2004



Houellebecq - Plateforme.

The title of the book might appear mysterious after you've read through the whole thing but in fact it is simply symbolic - a sort of key-to-riddle title, with the solution to the riddle mentioned towards the end of the novel, as if in passing.

The protagonist remembers a happy moment of childhood when he climbed all the way up to a "plateforme" at the top of a sort of observation pole in the mountains - he climbed without fear for he never looked down, but once having reached the platform he realized how high it really was, and looking down he felt like plunging into the void (rather than experience the fear of climbing down step-by-step) and be suspended in a long flight, a sort of weightless happiness, from which only fear of pain kept him in the end. Being at the height of the world and the sight of all those mountain picks represented happiness. And this is the metaphora for the whole novel, in fact - unwitting, unconscious climbing too high all the way to happiness and the inevitable cruel fall that it entails.

Certainly such a novel could hardly have a happy ending.





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