Friday 28 March 2014

The Suicide Shop - Jean Teule

It is possible that this is the ultimate Black comedy, it is at least up there with the incredible Danish film The Green Butchers.
Having recently read 'Eat Him if You Like' I was really looking forward to reading something else by Jean Teule. This was a very enjoyable follow up. The story is set at an unspecified point in the near future, much is still the same what has changed is that people have lost the will to go on. The general malaise has led to brisk business for the Suicide Shop run by the family who form the central characters of the story. The Tuvache family have been in the death business for generations, and are happy to keep up the honour of suicide. The vast array of methods on offer speaks to the dark brilliance of Teule's mind, we have the usual revolvers (supplied with only one bullet), nooses, poison but then we also have deliciously unique methods branded concrete blocks to assist with drownings and even the kiss of death provided from the blossoming daughter of the family. The only member of the family who is able to look on the lighter side of life is the youngest son Alan. His view on life reads like something drawn directly from the pages of Candide. 'All is for the best', like Dr Pangloss Alan is the eternal optimist. His Panglossian attitude leads him to see sunshine and flowers where his family see only the risk of cancer and poisonous blooms. Singlehandedly he takes it upon himself to turn around the fortunes and attitudes of his family, leading to a delicious twist in the tail of this snappy little novel.

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