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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


A Novel

Michel Houellebecq; Translated from the French by Shaun Whiteside

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


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.

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Michel Houellebecq; Translated from the French by Shaun Whiteside

Shaun Whiteside is a Northern Irish translator of French, Dutch, German, and Italian literature. He has translated many novels, including Manituana and Altai by Wu Ming, The Weekend by Bernhard Schlink, and Magdalene the Sinner by Lilian Faschinger, which won him the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translation in 1997.

image of Michel Houellebecqo
Philippe Matsas

Michel Houellebecq

Read an interview with Houellebecq in the Paris Review

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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