Michel Houellebecq’s Bleakest Novel Yet

Christian Lorentzen at Bookforum:

Serotonin is a story of psychic descent and personal disintegration, with a bloody political interlude grafted between its narrator’s initial crack-up and his terminal plunge. Florent-Claude Labrouste is forty-six years old and a veteran of the revolving door between the public and private French agricultural bureaucracies. His life has reached an erotic dead end. He’s a good-looking man, so he tells us, but it is a false front: “I have demonstrated my inability to take control of my life, the virility that seemed to emanate from my square face with its clear angles and chiselled features is in truth nothing but a decoy, a trick pure and simple—for which, it is true, I was not responsible.” He’s had a string of girlfriends, makes a good living, rents a big Paris flat, owns a vacation home in Spain, and has a substantial inheritance from his deceased parents, who were the opposite of abusive. And yet . . .

more here.