Book Review: ‘The Suicide Shop’ by Jean Teulé

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Title: The Suicide Shop

Author: Jean Teulé (translated by Sue Dyson)

Publisher: Gallic Books

Publication Date: 1st July 2008

Paperback: 160

Why did I choose to read this book? The title, naturally.

Where to read? Well due to the macabre subject I think it’s high time to take a seat in your local crypt cafe.

There’s a lovely one in St Martin’s, London or St Peter’s Church, Huddersfield. Have a search for your local underground experience.

Refreshments:You’ll understand why as you read the book but pancakes is the order of the day or should I say crêpes? My favourtie is good old sugar and lemon as a topping but be as adventurous as you like!

Review:

The world is a depressing place to live. Poverty, famine, war. Civilization has put Earth on a path to self-destruct so it’s not surprising that many individuals want to put an end to the their own suffering. Thankfully the Tuvache family have this particular problem covered in the guise of The Suicide Shop. Hanging rope? Rusty Razors? You name it they have the provisions fit for every wallet that walks through their shop door. Unfortunately, the youngest member of their morbid family has other ideas, a genuine love for life.

In true french style this story takes a depressing topic and makes you laugh and smile simply by confronting social realities with a tongue in cheek whimsical attitude.The range of ways the Tuvache family offer to kill oneself is vast and brilliantly entertaining, from masks made out of chicken carcass to condoms with holes in so you can catch syphilis there’s something for everyone and every gender.

Each of the family members have a very unique identity and one which is described in an intensely detailed manner so that it is very easy to create a visual image of this grim troupe. My favourite is Vincent, who for reasons never fully explained, has the entire upper part of his head swathed in bandages and is the inventor of the family. However, Lucrèce, the matriach of the family, comes a close second especially at the beginning of the book and her frustrations with her youngest son. ‘I’d rather have given birth to a nest of vipers than bring up that ridiculous child,’ is one of her more eloquent exclamations.

Alan is quite obviously the centre of this entire story and with his ‘da-da, doobi-doobi’ songs, smiles and spontaneous compliments it’s not long before he has infected people with his positive attitude. A fact which is obviously bad for business. The effect of his sunny demeanour in the face of the negative forces at work in the world is probably the best self-help guide you’ll find on any book shelves in any bookshop.

This is a very easy book to read in fact it will probably only take you a lazy Sunday afternoon to flip through the pages. However, that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable and refreshingly sardonic not to mention it taught me an interesting myth about Alan Turing.

Rating: 8 out of 10… plus why not check out the french animation film.

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