Death And The World: The Novel, “Serotonin”

French author Michel Houellebecq exhibits a certain distrust of liberalism in such novels as the recent Serotonin (2019) because he wants to be, and is, ruthlessly honest in his vision of life.  Comprehensive too:  Serotonin is darkly political in various ways, as when its protagonist, an agronomist, considers the E.U. “a fat slut” that hurts French farmers, and when he broaches the subject of factory farms with their cruelty to animals.

Is there any optimism in this political outlook?  No.  The novel as a whole, furthermore, is preoccupied with death, especially death by suicide.  Florent, the protagonist, almost causes a death by murder.  Interestingly, though, Houellebecq distrusts not only liberalism but also his own natural agnosticism.  At one point Florent opines that God is “mediocre,” but there are positive remarks about God as well, even on the book’s last page.

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