The Suicide Shop by Jean Teule and published by Gallic Books is due for release in July 2008. I first read about it on Scott Pack's blog. Consumed with jealousy over the cleverness of the title, I jumped at the opportunity to review it, hoping to find it was nothing more than a clever title.
It arrived on my doorstep as a spiral bound manuscript. I spent several Aspie moments delighting over how it opened out flat without the usual struggle to break the spine of the book...before I forced myself to stop digressing and got on with discovering the contents of 'The Suicide Shop'.
The blurb describes it as a black comedy, a term I've seen used many times before without grapsing the concept until I read this novel. It is set sometime in the future and tells the tale of a rather morose and dysfunctional family who are perfectly suited to managing the day to day business of their 'suicide shop'. The fact that they have no repeat customers is testament of their skillful sales recommendations to individual customers. The only aberration in their fur lined rut of misery is the youngest child who, from the moment of his birth, is an inextinguishable ray of golden sunshine.
I found the book filled with exquisite imagery: 'Soap bubbles are flying up from it. They rise and fall, float, coloured and shining, in the Suicide Shop. They find their way, carelessly, between the shelving.' 'Something escapes from Mishima's throat like a song that has lost its way.' 'Overexposed in the artificial brightness, he is also haloed by the vibrations of an incredible self-destructive passion.' are just a few examples of the vivid, emotive, literary treasures that await the lucky reader.
The book is only 75 pages long and towards the end I began to feel the story line was becoming slightly tedious in its predictability. I thought that until I reached the startling surprise of an ending! Then I realised how the last chapters had lulled me into making false assumptions in order to hammer the final message home. I recommend this book to everyone simply on the genius of that alone. This book isn't big, but it is clever! Follow the link to Gallic at the top of this post, if you ask nicely they may allow you to reserve a copy so you can beat the rush in July!
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