A NovelBook - 2019
Michel Houellebecq's Serotonin is a scathing, frightening, hilarious, raunchy, offensive, politically incorrect novel about the current state of Europe, Western civilization, and mankind in general.
Deeply depressed by his romantic and professional failures, the aging hedonist and agricultural engineer Florent-Claude Labrouste feels he is "dying of sadness." His young girlfriend hates him, his career is pretty much over, and he has to keep himself highly medicated to cope with day-to-day city life.
Struggling with "sex, male angst, solitude, consumerism, globalisation, urban planning, and more sex" ( The Economist ), Labrouste decides to head for the hills, returning to Normandy, where he once worked promoting regional cheeses, and where, too, he had once been in love, and even--it now seems--happy. There he finds a countryside devastated by globalization and European agricultural policies, and local farmers longing, like Labrouste himself, for an impossible return to what they remember as a golden age: the smaller world of the premodern era.
As the farmers prepare for what might be an armed insurrection, it becomes clear that the health of one miserable body and a suffering body politic are not so different, in the end, and that all concerned may be rushing toward a catastrophe a whole drugstore's worth of antidepressants won't be enough to make bearable.