In a post-apocalyptic world, the population doesn't have much to live for. Suicide is a business, and the business is brisk. The Suicide Shop by Jean Teule is a quirky novel translated into English by Gallic Books. It centers around a small family shop that offers up a range of options for killing ones self, and the family is well-suited for it. Every family member is morose, and it makes them perfect for recommending ways to end it all. All this works well, until their youngest child develops a horrible character defect... he's an optimist. As he grows up and finds wonder and joy in everything, it starts to change the dynamics of the family. Everyone becomes happy and joyful, and the business starts a shift towards laughter and celebration... except for the father... who is nearly despondent to the point of death...
The Suicide Shop is unusual, to say the least. It's an unexpected premise and a situation you'd never think possible. It's meant to be humorous, which it is due to the premise and the reactions of the various family members as they undergo their transformations. It's hard to tell where the story is going, as it doesn't really match anything you can draw on as a frame of reference. Suffice it to say that "ironic" is a word that comes into play.
This is one of those books where I give it an average rating with the caveat "your mileage may vary." It may have been due to the translation (as in having "lost something in"), or the absurdity of it. Perhaps the best way to put it is... it's different.
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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Jean Teulé lives in the Marais with his partner, the French film actress Miou-Miou. An illustrator, filmmaker and television presenter, he is also the prize-winning author of ten books including one based on the life of Verlaine. He has also written biographies of Rimbaud and François Villon.