Review: The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé (cover)

The Suicide Shop
by Jean Teulé

Gallic Fiction, 2008
160 pages, ISBN 1906040095
$15.78/Paperback (spiral bound galley was reviewed)

The Tuvaches, a sort of working class Addams Family, operate The Suicide Shop--a shop where anyone can purchase the equipment and/or training required to off themselves (though children can only purchase sweets that have a 50% chance of killing them).

The story is set some time after North America has been laid to waste by the Big One--but for the most part it could pass as contemporary, with the odd bit of future tech: holographic greeting cards; a solution that turn one's kiss poisonous to others; 3d semi-immersive full-sensory television.

Mishima and Lucrèce Tuvache have three children--two depressed and/or ailing, and the youngest, bright and cherubic.  This latter child, Alan, is the force that changes everything.

The chapters are brief, often terse, and the story progresses swiftly--at times a little too swiftly, in that I felt the characters bounced a bit too much in mood and disposition.  At the same time, the quick pace kept me turning pages.

I was somewhat disappointed by the direction of the narrative--it's described as a quirky black comedy, but I found it more comedy, verging on slapstick, and less black (until, perhaps, the end).  Alan's cheer and undauntable optimism quickly infects the rest of the family (except for Mishima, the father); even suicide commandos are shown to not be able to withstand his barrage of cheerfulness (a favorite quote: "I'll only be demonstrating this to you once!").

Still, it has a definite charm, and if you are perhaps less jaded you might get a real kick out of it throughout.  I could easily see it being a cult favorite in the right circles.

- reddit, digg, facebook, stumbleupon, etc... please! ;)
posted by kaolin

38 comments; 25 subscribers

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 / 14:07:11
TO ENTER TO WIN OUR COPY, TELL US ... HOW WOULD YOU KILL YOURSELF? OR CONVINCE SOMEONE ELSE TO KILL YOU? It'll count as an EXTRA ENTRY if you make it humorous. Entries will be considered through Monday, Aug 25 (midnight, pacific time). Open to anyone in the US/Canada.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 / 14:44:38
get drunk and take an overdose of pills no pain you just don't wake up
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 / 15:44:24

I would probably in "real" life just overdose on something.

But I think the perfect way for me to go would be to be sitting in this very chair, with boxes of twinkies strewn about, an oz of good quality BC bud, an ice cold bottle of vanilla vodka, a good amount of xanax watching a Miami Vice marathon. I'm sure if I consumed everything I'd be a gonner!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 / 16:50:49
I would drink a half a bottle of Jack Daniels,fall asleep in my car with the motor running and a hose from the exhaust running to inside the car and slip into lala land.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 / 16:55:12
I guess I am cruel but I would set it up so there was evidence to show my mil did it so she would have to think of me going thru the trial since she hates me so much- would make it so she would spend everydime she says she doesn't have or didn't spend on the kids - she would go broke going to lawyers and self defense..Cruel yes, but what a way to go-she always hated me- sweet revenge---how would I go ? Hmm that would be hard but its a thought or

I would die by excessive sex.... wait 6 minutes just will not do-- guess I would set it up the other way and blame the mil
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 / 17:14:57
i plan to commit suicide by sufficating under a large pile of victoria's secret models
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 / 17:53:17
I'd never kill myself..(I hope) doing something stupid..standing in puddle while vacuuming the car, using a hairdryer in the bath tub..texting while driving in Dallas, trying to pet a monitor lizard,snow skiing amid many trees, eattng sushi at some little outta the way spot in Little Italy..stuff like that..IF I killed myself I'd want it to be in some wild Thelma and Louise kind of way, right after a wonderful meal cooked by some marvelous chef, who just happens to be in love with me, and perhaps robbing a bank, or stealing the crown jewels. Whatever it has to be wild and fast very Indiana Jonesy, except no snakes. Jumping out of a plane, I mean airliner, clutching millions of dollars, (remind you of anyone? )and holding hands with Craig Ferguson..yeah..thats how I'd wanna go..
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 / 18:16:01
So, here's my suicide method.

First, the back story: After a recent diagnosis of a post-nuclear age related terminal illness (think radiation poisoning), I take my life savings to the Ho Chunk in search of a gambler's high--the only one left that I haven't really experienced. After winning the jackpot at Ho-Chunk Casino, I decide that life is never gonna get better than this. Small wars are sprouting worldwide like GE foods let loose in the environment by terrorist organizations. Al Qaida terrorists have set multitudes of wildfires all over the United States and revived the Tylenol scare. Seeing that I have no family, or husband because of my complete dedication to "the man" since I graduated from college, I think--well, maybe I should just pay somebody to assassinate me while I'm on top of the world! YEAH! Ya know, something kinda quick and painlessly irreversible that I won't even know hit me.
Do it while I'm young, successful, and HOT!
After the wartime surge of current (haha-really future) health problems related to worldwide terrorists' employing dirty bombs and the use of bio-weapons obtained from insane, disgruntled government scientists; new businesses have sprouted up due to the current life expectancy being under 50, and the chic new . There is a franchise just for me called: "Snipers-2-U." All you do is hire someone to assassinate you in the time by which your physician(s) has forecast you to expire (in this case---6 months). The Assassin's agent (as in Hollywood-type agent--I'll be working with Agent 99ORB-- Orange-Red-Balloon) matches the client's (me!) assassin order to an appropriate sniper/assassin, and let the games begin! You can even order gift certificates, too!

..there IS more to this story...
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 / 18:44:28
I could kill myself easily. All I would have to do is search for my daughters father, go to where he is, and look at him. That would be it. You would have to call my parents to come identify my body.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 / 19:45:32
If I were going to kill myself I really would not want to die in a boring and ordinary way (plain ole hanging, pills, tigers ECT) for me something a bit more interesting would be best. Go out with a bang.
First I would have to become a botanist. Don't ask me why, mainly just because it's something I want to do.
Once I achieved this goal, I would of course have to travel to the heart of some random like the Amazon, to research some random plant that could cure something like that awful thing that happens when you hit your funny bone ( I hate that, it's only FUNNY when it happens to someone else.
While frolicking through the jungle, I would more than likely fall on something to injure myself, or eat something, or get bit by a bug and be forced to stay in one place until I am back to health. I am very accident prone so I really don't belong anywhere near anything but a soft fluffy pillow anyway.

While nursing myself back to health (or being nursed back to health by my trusty companion Manny) I will come across a stranded little jungle cat cub. Being my caring self I will take it back to my camp, and then be faced by its mother who will more than likely eat my arm. This of course will attract the piranhas that inhabit the local waters where I have fallen after dragging myself away from the big cat. Their attack would also not kill me. Somehow I will manage to survive both of these attacks and a car accident on the way back to my home after being released from the hospital.

Finally, on a sunny day in June, when the annoying birds are chirping early in the morning, I will grow tired of looking at my piranha chewed arm, set up a Rube Goldberg like device to end it all, starting with a large anvil falling from the ceiling and crushing my entire existence (in a clean manner, preferably one follows that up with putting my remains into a tidy little box).

To summarize, I must go to the jungle, be half eaten by piranhas and cats and be smooshed.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 / 23:36:42
I'd be banged to death... as in, uhmmm, you know, being banged. hehe ;)
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 / 23:42:58
This looks extremely interesting. :D

How would I go out?
First, It'd be the day after I do something so epic that everyone wouldn't think of NOT coming to my funeral. National news. Maybe world.

I'd cure AIDS or cancer. I'd put on the most epic rock show in the world. Make headlines and get nation/world renowned fame! A crazy speech, a controversial book. Nobel prize.

Then, the next morning, I would shoot my face off. There would be nothing there, but it wouldn't matter. My face instilled in everyone's brain like looking at the freaking sun.

Everyone would wonder why. Cry. Mourn. Create a perfect replica of my face.

It'd be in an epic proportion.
Thursday, August 14, 2008 / 03:40:51
This sounds like a book I would love to read. I do have odd taste in reading matter. Well, o.k., I'll read ANYTHING.Asto killing myself, I suffer from clinical depression so I've actually given ALOT of thought to that. I would take 6 Ambien and a couple of Oxycontin. That would do it.
Thursday, August 14, 2008 / 06:18:48
I would kill myself slowly with a fork by eating my favorite foods daily-bacon, butter, ice cream,chocolate cake, and french fries.
Thursday, August 14, 2008 / 09:31:39
It was the funniest thing - five years ago I began to kill myself by wasting three hours every day on a commuter train into NYC. I've been dead now for at least three years.
Thursday, August 14, 2008 / 15:01:59
How would I kill myself? I've been doing it my entire life! Mostly a steady diet of Bailey's Irish Cream and Hostess fruit pies, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle spent in front of the computer (hey, I've been online long enough to have come across THIS blog at random); I'll be dead by 2011, and that's only if my liver holds out that long!
Thursday, August 14, 2008 / 20:06:46
I'd put on a thong, walk into Walmart, pour paint all over myself, and set myself on fire.
Thursday, August 14, 2008 / 21:30:51
I've always been a huge bookworm so this would be my ideal way to die! One day when I'm cleaning, my huge bookcase will tip over and crush me. If I don't die quickly I will probably die from not being able to breath because of the dust. I'm kind of a bitch so I'm sure somebody would have rigged it to fall over on me...without any convincing from me!
Tracy B.
Friday, August 15, 2008 / 07:12:57
My heart is heavy when I read about books such as this. I wonder what type of person enjoys finding 'humor' in an act that has devastated so many lives. Do people joke about dying of cancer, of homicide, of asthma, of diabetes, of vehicle accidents?

For those who are not aware, there are over 30,000 suicides reported each year, and many suicides not reported because the evidence cannot confirm intent.

Suicide is usually the result of a mental illness like depression, sometimes it's coupled with other self-destructive behaviors like addiction, and always, always, always, it leave behind friends and family members who will never 'get over' what happened.

Visit and think about each of those people and the despair they felt. Can you still laugh?

I find no humor in such a plot. I wish the author would find a more positive way to use his writing talent.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 / 02:32:01
This looks like a really interesting book! I'd rent one of those gasoline powered generators they warn you not to use indoors due to the carbon monoxide they generate and let it run after I take all the Xanax I could swallow and fall asleep. Peaceful, quick, painless, not messy, what more could someone ask?
Saturday, August 16, 2008 / 02:44:48
@Karyl--People do indeed joke about dying of cancer, of homicide, of asthma, of diabetes, of vehicle accidents.

Age-adjusted death rate per 100,000 population, suicide appears slightly higher than homicide; smaller than motor vehicle-related deaths; which is lower then cancer; which is lower than heart disease.

But if you can't laugh about something, you're missing a large part of life, I think.

An author I esteem highly killed himself recently because he couldn't handle the pain of living. It is a loss to the world, but death is part of life.
Sunday, August 17, 2008 / 13:57:22
I'd make them read and re-read Karyl's whiny comments until they slash their own throat for relief from her overly simplistic narrow-minded drivel.
Sunday, August 17, 2008 / 14:27:53
"Everything is the proper stuff of fiction."--V Woolf.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008 / 16:07:44
drugs and alcohol
Friday, August 22, 2008 / 14:18:11
I'd starve myself to death...if you knew what I looked like, you'd find that to be quite funny...
Alicia Webster
Saturday, August 23, 2008 / 18:21:07
Insulin overdose for me please - go to sleep, not wake up, hard to detect what happened. :)
Sunday, August 24, 2008 / 02:57:10
This is kind of sickening to talk about this. What kind of freak are you to even ask this? But, I'll bite in the hopes of reading this book about this sick subject. I've got problems, I guess. So, yeah, I'd off myself without pain by taking the whole bottle of sleeping pills I have and currently don't use and a bottle of anti-depressants which I currently use and thrive on and that keep me from freaking out about this very disturbing and off-color giveaway that I'm unbelievably participating in.
Sunday, August 24, 2008 / 08:51:05
I was trying to think of the perfect suicide when someone knocked at my bedroom door and came in without asking. Suddenly I had the perfect death scene. Being stuck in the elevator with my mother in law while musak by Barry Manilow played in the background. That woman keeps visiting and after listening to her for hours and hours and hours about how perfect ex-daughter in law did this or that better than me I want to either clock her or duct tape her mouth. I am in the Army and since we are taught to shoot to kill, I don't want to kill her but killing myself to finally stop her insane chatter would almost be a gift to myself!
Sunday, August 24, 2008 / 14:39:42
I'd call Dr. Jack Kervorkian!
Sunday, August 24, 2008 / 18:38:35
I would want to go out on my back with a well built man 20 yrs my junior. What a way to go.
Monday, August 25, 2008 / 11:46:50
probably sleeping pills it would be the least painful way
Monday, August 25, 2008 / 14:50:22
Put me out of my misery with a marathon of "Friends" reruns.
Monday, August 25, 2008 / 17:45:40
I would probably date O J Simpson's girlfriend or pick a fight with Mike Tyson.
Monday, August 25, 2008 / 19:15:16
Sleeping pills, anti depressants and a large alcholic drink as a kicker.....Se La Vi..
Monday, August 25, 2008 / 19:16:59
I don't think I could do it myself but watching the Republican or Democratic conventions would possibly make me do it!
Monday, August 25, 2008 / 20:40:49
i'd probably try ODing on sleeping pills, cuz at least it doesn't hurt, and if it didn't take i could always tell people it was an accident so i wouldn't be embarrassed, nobody likes a failure, esp. someone who can't even kill themselves correctly! hahaha
Monday, August 25, 2008 / 20:46:28
I am trying to convinve my husband to smother me with a pillow, for some reason he is not cooperating
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 / 20:33:30
Gravatar gives me 39, which by my best estimate as to who was humorous and who was not--puts the winner at blueviolet! Thank you all for your contributions!

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