Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq

Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq

French fiction

Original title – Sérotonine

Translator – Shaun Whiteside

Source – Library book

Well, I move on to the next of the Booker longlist after a week of self-isolation which started with reading this the latest books from the French enfant terrible Michel Houellebecq. This was a bestseller in France and he was appointed to the Legion of Honour when the book came out. I have reviewed his last book which I enjoyed I found some of his earlier books grated me when younger but their premise of this one appealed as it seems to capture an effect that of moving to the country, I wonder if there is a german world the encompasses the nostalgia of moving to the country at a certain age.

I planned my departure for Monday 1 August. On the evening of 31 July, I sat down in the sitting room and waited for Yuzu to come home. I wondered how long it would take her to graspo reality, to realise that I had left for good and would never be coming back, Her stay in France, whatever else it was, would be directly determined by the two months rental notice on the apartment. I didn’t know exacltywhatr her salary at the Japanese House of Culture was, but it certainly wouldn’t be enough to cover the rent, and I couldn’t  imagine her agreeing to move to a miserable studio flat

The last night in Paris as he makes the move to Normandy,

The book is centred around the life of Florent-Claude Labrouste he is at that age. His libido is fast disappearing his younger girlfriend is losing interest and his job for the ministry of agriculture as an engineer is down the pan. All he has is the new pill he has been given for his depression. When he hatches a plan to move back to Normandy and promote the cheese a job he did in his youth. The man that at the start of the book oogles two young women at the garage. So he leaves Yuzu his Japanese girlfriend behind. He returns in his old Mercedes to retrace those places he had enjoyed in his youth but what he gets is a place changed by and damaged by time and the effect of the EU and other events in the last twenty years as he heads further into Normandy his dream of a different life is shattered and even the place has turned dark the is an unsettling section with a paedophile later on in the book as he seems to just lump the horrors of the world on Labroste as the dream is shattered and we see a middle-aged man drifting lost in this modern world.

I obviously expected that Camille would like the house in Clecy; I had a rudimentary aesthetic sense and , well, I could tell that it was a pretty house; on the other hand I hadn;t anticipated that she would also make it her house, that from the first days there she would want to buy fabrics, move fuinture, that in the end she would quickly come to act like a wife- in a decidedly un-feminist sense – even though she was only nineteen.

Later on with a younger woman but it all turns bad when the move in together.

I like Labrouste often dream of a time when life was great for me it was a time when I was both here in UK In Northumberland a time when my dreams seemed possible and then a time in Germany when life was just about perfect I had a job there and a small group of friends but this is wishful thinking and like Labrouste would it be the same if I came back now no and this is often the case what Houellebecq has done is written an Anti place in the country a true picture of all those middle-aged folks chasing that dream when it goes wrong and In France and just here the world is a different place. He does sometimes like that kid in the class have to push the point too far I felt the whole Paedophile was him pushing the broken dream just a bit too far. Well, I had intended to read this at some point so when it made the longlist it meant I got to it sooner. Have you read Houllebecq .What are your thought around him?

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