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Serotonin Reviews

Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq

Serotonin

Michel Houellebecq

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: William Heinemann Ltd
Publisher: Cornerstone
Publication date: 12 Sep 2019
ISBN: 9781785152238

Dissatisfied and discontent, Florent-Claude Labrouste begrudgingly works as an engineer for the Ministry of Agriculture, and is in a self-imposed dysfunctional relationship with a younger woman. When he discovers her ongoing infidelity, he decides to abandon his life in Paris and return to the Normandy countryside of his youth. There he contemplates lost loves and past happiness as he struggles to embed himself in a world that no longer holds any joy for him. His only relief comes in the form of a pill - white, oval, small. Captorix is a new brand of anti-depressant, recently released for public consumption, which works by altering the brain's release of serotonin. With social unrest intensifying around him, and his own depression deepening, Florent-Claude turns to this new medication in the hope that he will find something to live for. Written by one of the most provocative and prophetic novelists of his generation, Serotonin is at once a devastating story of solitude, longing and individual suffering, and a powerful criticism of modern life.

4 stars out of 5
Simon Heffer
15 Apr 2019

"the way that Houellebecq obsesses over and dissects the banalities of life that makes him so entertaining."

It is revelatory how much French critics praised the book. They clearly regarded Houellebecq's implicit denunciation of the French establishment, French society and the EU as utterly accurate. If your French is up to it, do read this remarkable novel – even though parts require a strong stomach – because Houellebecq is a remarkable stylist. If not, let's hope the translation does him justice.

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