“Often in the evening, I lift the curtain in our bedroom and watch them falling from the estate’s towers. With the breeze-block on one ankle, they look like shooting stars. When there are a lot of them, on nights when the local sports team gets beaten, you’d think it was sand flowing down from the towers. It’s pretty.” – Mishima, discussing the merits of cement breeze-blocks for suicide.
Mishima and Lucrece Tuvache, along with their three children, Marilyn, Vincent and Alan, own and run, and have done, for generations, a very unique store. It’s clientele come in for their expertise and knowledge, as well as their wide, vast and extensive supply of accouterments designed exclusively for the sole purpose of ending one’s life. During a time of great distress, chaos and abysmal living conditions, The Suicide Shop offers various unique and guaranteed manners in which to escape it all. Swords, guns (with a single bullet!), poisoned candy, brick blocks for drowning, ropes and more are available in all different price ranges, affording all and any the means to an end, literally. For years, the family has successfully aided in the deaths of grateful patrons, and the continued success of the Suicide Shop, and future generations of it’s owners and patrons, seems all but guaranteed, that is, until their youngest son, Alan is born.
When a customer comments on the new baby’s smile, Lucrece writes it off as ‘gas’, for it’s impossible for a Tuvache to be anything but morose and depressed, given their line of work. Yet, as the years pass, it becomes evident that their youngest child is different. Upbeat, positive and HAPPY, Alan goes against everything the family has endeavored to instill in their children. When Alan begins talking customers OUT of suicide, reminding them of the POSITIVE in their lives, switching poisoned candies for normal ones, dulling sword blades, fraying ropes and hiding bullets, the Tuvaches are convinced their business is doomed, their reputation besmirched, forever. What happens, instead, is something none of them, except, perhaps, the jovial, optimistic Alan, could have predicted.
A quick, quirky, dark’ish comedy, The Suicide Shop is deviously different than anything I’ve read. Written so well that Jean Teule leaves readers actually supporting the Tuvache’s family endeavors, as well as pondering the practicality of each implement of suicide and contemplating which one might best serve them. The characters are larger than life, fleshed out and visually available to the reader in such a manner that the readers can’t help but relate with each and everyone on one level or another. Bittersweet, genuine and unique, with a kick you in the ass ending, The Suicide Shop is a definite must read/own/share fable ALL literature fans must read, at least once. Destined to be read over and over, by many.
Claudia lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband and two children.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Gallic Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.