Jean Teule has created a sublime and satirical look at the dynamics of family life set against the backcloth of mortality. Balancing precariously on the precipice of life, the desperate and lonely folk of Teule’s future world seek a means to end their pathetic lives, and find it within a small shop aptly titled, The Suicide shop. Having been in the Tuvache family for generations, morose and embittered father Mishima, and his dutiful and equally morbid wife Lucrece, have forged a business designed for one purpose – death. Teule’s detail given to the means of achieving this is nothing short of genius. From the Alan Turin frieze to the belladonna, from the digitalis petals to the corporate branded breezeblock, every conceivable and ingenious method of ending your life is catered for at the Suicide Shop with hilarious detail. Imagine if Jean Pierre Junet had remade the Adam’s Family, and you’re nearly getting there. And while funny, ingenious and awe-inspiring, it’s through innocence and sanguinity that Teule interweaves a buoyancy to the book that lifts your heels. It is the youngest of the Tuvache family, Alan, that Tuele uses to express the innocence of life that is at times suffocated by the outside world, the forces beyond our control, and callousness of evolution. Alan is the light flickering in the vast abyss of nothingness. He is hope incarnate, and much to his family’s annoyance, Alan offers salvation to the unsalvageable. I don’t want to go too much into the detail of how this is achieved, but at the end of the book you’ll feel several pounds lighter, and yet your chest will be aching.
A quick and wonderful read that needs further attention. Please, before you die, read this book!