What a wonderfully bizarre book! A slim quick read, but totally gripping from beginning to end (no pun intended…)
A translated French novel (only the French could have written this – reminded me of the bleak comedy of the film ‘Le Delicatessen’). Set in the future after a calamity which transformed the outlook of the world to despair, the Tuvache family run The Suicide Shop. Not allowed to kill anyone directly they offer everything that is needed, often marvellously creatively, to take one’s life. Their motto ‘Has your life been a failure? Let’s make your life a success!’ captures the morbid tone perfectly. Indeed such is their despair (allegedly) that they’d take their own lives, but for the fact that no one would be left to help others do the same.
So far so bad. But into the greyness of this shop comes a new life, Alan, the product of testing out a certain product meant to lead to death not birth. From he moment he is born Alan is a stark contradiction of his environment, with an innocent love of life and a joy in bringing pleasure and hope to others…
The novel is an exploration of the clash of these two outlooks with unexpected consequences.
If you cope with the black humour, definitely worth reading. Quirky, amusing and most certainly thought provoking.