The novel became an instant "nihilistic classic", although the New York Times described it as, "a deeply repugnant read." The novel won Houellebecq—along with his translator, Frank Wynne—the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2002. The author's following novel, Plateforme (2001), earned him a wider reputation. It is a romance, told mostly in the first-person by an aging male arts administrator, with many sex scenes and an approbation of prostitution and sex tourism. The novel's depiction of life and its explicit criticism of Islam and the Muslim faith, together with an interview its author gave to the magazine Lire, led to accusations against Houellebecq by several organisations, including France's Human Rights League, the Mecca-based World Islamic League and the mosques of Paris and Lyon. Charges were brought to trial, in circumstances reminiscent of Britain's Salman Rushdie affair; but a panel of three judges, delivering their verdict to a packed Paris courtroom, acquitted the author of having provoked racial hatred. His most recent novel is The Possibility of an Island (original title La Possibilité d'une île). He has also produced the spoken word CD "Presence Humaine" where he sings a number of his poems to the music of Bertrand Burgalat (Tricatel, 2000).
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