New / Hardcover / FSG / 2019 / 309 pages / 978-0374261023
Translated by Shaun Whiteside
The novel depicts French farmers struggling to survive in the face of globalisation, agribusiness and European Union policies. It foresaw many concerns of the yellow vest movement which began protesting in France in late 2018. Written before protesters began blockading roads in real life, Serotonin soon joined previous Houellebecq novels in being termed eerily prophetic by critics.
After watching a television documentary about people who choose to disappear from their life without telling anyone, the main character abruptly leaves his girlfriend, a young Japanese woman who is sexually hyperactive but devoid of affection, quits his job and flees to a chain hotel in another part of Paris. A doctor prescribes him an antidepressant to remedy his low levels of serotonin, hence the title of the novel. Although the drug dulls his sex drive, he returns to Normandy in search of former lovers.