Wednesday 13 February 2008

always look on the bright side of death

The Suicide Shop
by Jean

How exciting, my first book to be reviewed before publication. Thanks to Scott at The Friday Project who made copies of this French bestseller available through his blog. It will be published in July and has already attracted a negative comment on Amazon from someone offended by suicide as a subject for humourous entertainment. Be assured: This is a black comedy.

Set in a future where ecological disaster has left much of the planet uninhabitable, inside the City of Forgotten Religions with the daily news filled with stories of war, famine and disaster people are killing themselves in increasing numbers. All of which is great news for the Tuvache family who for generations have provided people with the means to do away with themselves in The Suicide Shop. 'Has your life been a failure? Let's make your death a success.' is their slogan and inside the store you will find myriad ways to end it all. Ropes, guns, poisons, a seppuku set (hari-kari to you and me) and the Turing Kit (you'll have to read to understand the genius behind that one) all available for the right price and service without a smile from Mishima, Lucrece, Vincent and Marilyn. There is but one shining light on the already blotted landscape. Their youngest child Alan is filled with optimism, hope and love, and as a result is a huge embarrasment to the family. Nothing can dent his outlook on life, not even the news:

'Oh yeath, we saw those pictures again of the Dutch dykes that exploded during the latht tidal wave, and the beach that now extendth as far as Prague. They showed the emaciated inhabitants of the German province crying out and rolling naked in the dunes. If you narrowed your eyes, the shining grains of sand mixed with the sweat on their skin looked like little stars. It was unreal but everything will be thorted out'.

So as he wanders around the shop singing 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' his parents worry about the effect it might have on business. What this short novel shows is how he will change the whole family and the wider community with the power of happiness. It's full of a quirky joie de vivre and a very quick read with an oddly touching ending. Available in the summer from Gallic Books.


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