LIKE PLATFORM MICHEL Houellebeca's last novel, Lanzarote is ostensibly about sexual tourism, though this time closer to home. In the first week of the new millennium, the narrator flies off to the Canaries on a one-week all-inclusive package holiday. He does a bit of sightseeing (well, what little there is to see on Lanzarote - the Cactus Garden, the National Park), watches CNN, masturbates to MTV, befriends a Belgian police insvector, and has sex with a couple of 'non-exclusive' German lesbians on the beach. Not much else happens, but the banality of the package tour provides an amusing counter point to the narrator's misanthropic voice.
Lanzarote offers little that is of cultuial or ecological interest, its historic buildrngs having been destroyed by a series of devastating earthquakes in the eighteenth century, and its only sehng point being that it is warm enough to bathe there in January. The narrator is naturally contemptuous of his fellow