Monday, September 16, 2013

The Suicide Shop-Jean Tuele

The Suicide Shop

Jean Tuele

Gallic Books, Sep 3 2013, $13.95

ISBN: 9781906040093

The customer enters The Suicide Shop to purchase a rope to hang herself with. However, she is shocked to see the proprietor’s newborn Alan smiling as the Tuvache family are renowned for their frowns. The baby’s parents Mishima and Lucrece deny this their child’s grinning; they insist their youngest is just as gloomy as them and their two older siblings. However, the matriarch notices in horror that Alan seems to be playing joyfully in his pram.

Over the next few years, happy Alan is bad for business as his smiles leave most clients feeling good and not wanting to buy end of life solutions. His upbeat joy proves contagious as his mother, brother and sister become increasingly optimistic about life as do the villagers. Only mirthless melancholy Mishima remains grim as he watches sales of equipment and training drop to a point in which the family business nears its demise due to Alan and his damn attitude.

The Suicide Shop is an amusing dark satire set at an incredibly frantic pace. The customers and shop’s supplies augment the look at a family whose light sheep brings an unwanted new way of living. Although the key cast is never fully developed especially their relationships outside the shop, readers will appreciate this wry graveyard social commentary.

Harriet Klausner

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