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3.58  ·  Rating details ·  15,707 ratings  ·  1,654 reviews
Als der 46-jährige Protagonist von SEROTONIN, dem neuen Roman des Goncourt-Preisträgers Michel Houellebecq, Bilanz zieht, beschließt er, sich aus seinem Leben zu verabschieden – eine Entscheidung, an der auch das revolutionäre neue Antidepressivum Captorix nichts zu ändern vermag, das ihn in erster Linie seine Libido kostet. Alles löst er auf: Beziehung, Arbeitsverhältnis, ...more
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published January 7th 2019 by DuMont Buchverlag GmbH & Co. KG (first published January 4th 2019)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  15,707 ratings  ·  1,654 reviews

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The New European

I try; I really do. I want to be hip, and cosmopolitan, and wittily detached. I even take the trouble to track Houellebecq’s locations on GoogleEarth in order to keep my interest levels up. But I fail. I do; I fail. I feel broken, dissipated, impotent. I try to hide it but the lines on my face are unmistakable marks of defeat as well as age. I must be the wrong temperament, or the wrong nationality, or perhaps have the wrong hormones. Yes, that’s it, the hormones.

I do enjoy the s
Ten books ago (I find I measure time in books these days), I read a story about a forty-something year-old bachelor who spent his life, at least within the time of the story, driving about the country in the kind of fashionable vehicle a single man of his time would not be ashamed to be seen in. While he travelled, he liked to dream, though less and less as his story went on, of finding someone with whom he could settle down and start a family. And as he drove about the highways and byways of th ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-read, france
Now Longlisted for the International Booker Prize 2020
You have to give it to Houellebecq that he knows how to ridicule the media hype machine by making it his willing accomplice, so don't get distracted by the flashy trigger words (masturbation! impotence! suicide! paedophilia! sodomy! drugs!) and let's look at the heart of this story that beats underneath all of this, and beats much stronger than the hearts of the people depicted. Houellebecq's new novel is told from the perspective of 46-year
Adam Dalva
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit of a shark-jumper for Houellebecq, whose talents as a writer remain undeniable. SEROTONIN is a fast read, gripping despite a lack of suspense. It the story of a gourmand who medicates for depression and makes increasingly odd choices while journeying through his past. The polemic treatment of "the west in decline" is often fascinating, and though I don't agree with Houellebecq on many things, it is fun to argue with him internally about things like free-trade (a lengthy dairy farmer sequen ...more

Suprisingly touching and perceptive novel. Don't get me wrong, I do think Houellebecq is a very skilful writer, his novels are linguistically perfect but he himself a bit aloof and distanced. It took me some time/books to get used to him and by then I could see a provocateur, enfant terrible of French literature, someone with pleasure stirring up a hornet's nest. I saw him criticised from right to left. For misogyny, pornography, aggressiveness, amorality, cynicism and misanthropy. But this ? Ma
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the saddest and most tragic novel by Houellebecq I have read so far. Houellebecq seemed to have lost the bite of his provocative aggressiveness in this novel and although we readers got used to it and found it amusing (at least I did), I must say it really moved me to read this unusually compassionate novel by him. He still has plenty of aggravating and sharp things to say, so we don’t have to worry there’s nothing left to chuckle over! I hope he will continue in this new voice. I am per ...more
[Before reading]

Celebrity Death Match Special: Sérotonine versus Snow White

Payot! Payot!
It's off to shop we go!
With a hammer and a pick and Houellebecq's dick
Payot, Payot, Payot!
Winner: the inevitable collapse of Western society

[After reading]

As usual, the idiots who just flick through the pages looking for things to get agitated about have found passages to fill up their vacuous articles, and you will see ugly woman academics who have made a profession
Mar 14, 2019 rated it liked it

Serotonin" by Michel Houellebecq
The protagonist of the novel is the 46-year-old Florent-Claude Labrouste, an advisor to the Agriculture Department, suffering from depression and taking Captorix (fictitious antidepressant). The life story is accompanied by numerous political and social changes in France. Linguistically very impressive again, the plot here is the language. I like Houllebecq's amazing writing style, and consider him an interesting author! His novels are essentially very similar. Wh
Vicky "phenkos"
I think I'm going to create a new shelf entitled 'pornography with pretentions'. No, God forbid, because I'd risk incurring the wrath of the brigade who understand good literature and are not going to be put off by a few manifestations of misogyny or a dozen half-naked women swaying their arses around in search of a good c*ck that the hero of the book is happy to point their way. Or rather, not is, was. Alas, not any more. What a predicament! What a sad state of affairs. Definitely worth 320 pag ...more
Paul Fulcher
Mar 01, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
With apologies to Gwen Stefani:

Few times I've been around that track
So it's not just gonna happen like that.

This is my 5th Houellebecq novel and his 8th.

In the best, and most quoted, line in Shaun Whitehead’s translation of Michel Houllebecq’s Serotonin, the narrator argues that, for Western culture, the third millennium is one millennium too many, in the way that boxers have one fight too many, which is perhaps the overriding theme of all of the author’s
Lee Klein
A generous three stars — felt like a loose first draft for maybe 200 of its 300 pages. Worth it for a little essayette about Mann and Proust toward the end, not to mention particular, peculiar, often amusing, unexpected, abstracted turns within a sentence (". . . I found myself on my own again, more alone than I had ever been; well, I had hummus, which is suited to solitary pleasures . . ." (p 360), or within the overall story (relationship story morphs into story about agrarian rebellion), and ...more
MJ Nicholls
A botched attempt at hot-topic triggering and snowflake-baiting turns into a meandering and unconvincing depiction of depression with some B+ black humour and snark.
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love to hate him.
“Was I able to be happy in my loneliness? I don't think so. Was I able to be happy in general? I think it is better not to ask yourself those kinds of questions.”
It has been a few years since I read a book by Houellebecq. His The Elementary Particles left me repelled and fascinated.And when you start on this recent book (2019), you immediately notice how much he repeats the same theme over and over again: the sorrow of the human condition, and especially that of Western civilization in the early
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At this point, Michel Houellebecq is very good at writing the same well-worn story that he first helped popularize. That story can be efficiently summed up as: (Decline of the West) + (Death from Despair) = European Man. This book like all of his others is festooned with the provocations familiar to his writing. They have by now lost the capacity to shock and are genuinely humorous; even charming in a way. They've become like stock features of his work that one is already well prepared for him t ...more
Jason Pettus
THE‌ ‌GREAT‌ ‌COMPLETIST‌ ‌CHALLENGE:‌ ‌In‌ ‌which‌ ‌I‌ ‌revisit‌ ‌older‌ ‌authors‌ ‌and‌ ‌attempt‌ ‌to‌ ‌read‌ every‌ ‌book‌ ‌they‌ ‌ever‌ ‌wrote‌

Currently‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌challenge:‌ ‌Martin‌ ‌Amis‌ |‌ Isaac‌ ‌Asimov's‌ ‌Robot/Empire/Foundation‌ |‌ Margaret‌ Atwood‌ |‌ JG‌ ‌Ballard‌ |‌ Clive‌ ‌Barker‌ |‌ Philip‌ ‌K‌ ‌Dick‌ |‌ Daphne‌ ‌Du‌ ‌Maurier‌ |‌ William‌ ‌Gibson‌ |‌ Michel‌ Houellebecq‌ |‌ John‌ ‌Irving‌ |‌ Kazuo‌ ‌Ishiguro‌ |‌ John‌ ‌Le‌ ‌Carre‌ |‌ Bernard‌ ‌Malamud‌ |‌ China‌ ‌Mieville‌ |
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The narrator of Serotonin is uncomfortable company, not just because he tells tasteless stories for shock value, but mainly because he reminds me of a certain type of adult men who refuse to grow up. The sort of people who wallow in their life-long grudges and dress it as some kind of ‘deep and sexy nihilism’. The people who take a decisive stance against political correctness in the name of free speech but whose attacks in fact have more to do with teenage cynicism. The people whose notion of s ...more
Florian Pfeiffer
It was ok. I started really nice but the main protagonist is real (SUV-driving) pretentious asshole, drowning in self-pity. If you scratch all the endless remarks about french cuisine this might be still a pretty solid novell, but it’s going nowhere and it was not enough for me. The book had it’s strong moments but for me it was not enough. It seems to me that not few authors are damned to only write one good novel. And in the end i still don’t think Mr Houellebecq knows a thing about love, nor ...more
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Art always appeases its core constituency. It only challenges the world view of those who don’t matter to it. That is how art becomes successful. By appeasing the useful and upsetting the rest. Art is always rewarded for being relatable. That’s its innate corruption." - Manu Joseph

In many ways, Serotonin is more of the same stuff that Houellebecq has been pumping out for decades. Europe is finished. Social relations have broken down. Lonely ugly males roam around without any real purpose, using
Jan Rice
Why, oh, why can't one rely on the strong, assertive male voice, telling us authoritatively how things are and what to do? Everything used to be so simple when you could (or thought you could).

Oh, for those days when all was made clear. One could simply rest assured that everything was being taken care of and would certainly turn out okay. Because somebody knew what was going on, and he knew what to do about it. Someone had everything analyzed (correctly). Someone understood.


Oh, how I wi
Brendan Monroe
Michel Houellebecq is one of those rare writers whose latest work I consistently bump to the top of my increasingly endless "to read" pile. I can't think of any writer as prescient as Houellebecq or who writes about current issues with as much aplomb.

Houellebecq's subjects seem to reflect the new political reality in Europe and, increasingly, the globe. The "everyman" his books depict war against the EU and feel increasingly victimized by globalization. The most vulgar insult a narrator in a Hou
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france
4,5 stars, rounded up. This book may be depressing, but I found it melancholic, since to me it was a flirtation with the kind of life I ultimately did not have. I'm reading this as an ode to love, and, to a lesser extent, freedom of an individual. Highly recommended. ...more
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-lit, francais

I just finished this book with profound sadness and almost a loss of words.

It didn’t start out that way. In fact I picked this book up in a Paris train station. I read it in the south of France and Spain. Oddly, this book starts with his main character Labrouste in Spain. It starts at a truck stop where he picks up some girls. Sounds like Houellebecq. Then he travels with his Japanese girlfriend, traveling across Spain. He complains about the tourist industry, even the Spanish Paradores. It gets
Jovan Autonomašević
Great read. I picked it up by chance in a hotel in Vietnam. I had already read his best-known work, Les particules élémentaires, which I found to be rather dreary. As such I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It has many elements in common with the other book, such as a liberal sprinkling of explicit and uninhibited sex. But rather than being gratuitous, it adds to and drives the main story - and even makes it tolerable, which I suspect is the author's aim. The main story is the twilight yea ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
Excellent book about a man in his forties dealing with depression, by taking an anti-depressant pill each day. Hence the title. Plenty of flashbacks, suicidal thoughts etc. Not only is the style sublime, the story is perfect as well. It mixes cynical considerations about today's society with surprising action. Only the last few lines of the book disappoint, but I suspect that may have been on purpose. Vintage Houellebecq. ...more
A slow-burning suicidal internal monologue of a middle-aged European man along with occasional genitalia talk and paranoia over the decay of western civilization where nothing happens (if you're expecting) but still a good read considering that depression seethes off the pages. ...more
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second novel I've read by Michel Houellebecq and another uneven, if ultimately enjoyable ride.

Michel Houellebecq seems to take pleasure in being provocative and offensive, and he struggles to write remotely convincing female characters. Put that to one side and he offers some interesting and unusual insights into modern life and the state of the world.

In Serotonin he shines a light on the state of European farming in a globalised world, and the impact of this on traditional farming familie
Liina Bachmann
Oct 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Reading Michel Houellebecq is a lot like sitting in a bar and listening to a middle-aged man with rosacea nose semi drunkenly telling you his sad life story whilst staring at your breasts at all times. Serotonin is not different in this regard. Women are downsized and judged by how accomplished they were in bed except for the protagonist's wife whom he talks about and reminiscences about with surprising tenderness.
Roughly half of the book is mostly about his love life and if not familiar with h
Leo Robertson
Had its funny bits but didn't hold together.

Don't understand what his job had to do with anything, what the antidepressants had to do with anything—or really what anything had to do with anything.

For that I fault Houellebecq's quintessential style, which is that his protagonists never really seem to give a shit. Therefore, it never seems to matter what it is they don't give a shit about!
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*cries in pain*
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Michel Houellebecq (born Michel Thomas), born 26 February 1958 (birth certificate) or 1956 on the French island of Réunion, is a controversial and award-winning French novelist. To admirers he is a writer in the tradition of literary provocation that reaches back to the Marquis de Sade and Baudelaire; to detractors he is a peddler, who writes vulgar sleazy literature to shock. His works though, pa ...more

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“God takes care of us; he thinks of us every minute, and he gives us instructions that are sometimes very precise. Those surges of love that flow into our chests and take our breath away -- those illuminations, those ecstasies, inexplicable if we consider our biological nature, our status as simple primates-- are extremely clear signs.

And today I understand Christ's point of view and his repeated horror at the hardening of people's hearts: all of these things are signs, and they don't realise it. Must I really, on top of everything else, give my life for these wretches? Do I really have to be explicit on that point?

Apparently so.”
“... it isn't the future but past that kills you, that comes back to torment and undermine you, and effectively ends up killing you.” 5 likes
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