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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

The Suicide Shop

Jean Teulé

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To purchase The Suicide Shop

Title: The Suicide Shop
Author: Jean Teulé
Genre: Novel
Written: 2007 (Eng. 2008)
Length: 169 pages
Original in: French
Availability: The Suicide Shop - US
The Suicide Shop - UK
The Suicide Shop - Canada
Le Magasin des Suicides - Canada
Le Magasin des Suicides - France
  • French title: Le Magasin des Suicides
  • Translated by Sue Dyson

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Our Assessment:

B : amusing trifle

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Le Figaro . 15/10/2007 Mohammed Aïssaoui
Financial Times . 23/6/2008 Martin Hoyle

  From the Reviews:
  • "Ce court récit (157 pages) est mené avec humour, la juste distance -- ni trop léger dans le propos ni trop lourd dans la drôlerie --, une belle dose de dérision et la fantaisie nécessaire à un tel sujet. On sent que le romancier s'est amusé dans cet exercice de style." - Mohammed Aïssaoui, Le Figaro

  • "Indeed, the short scenes and casual zaniness of this gently comic fable, a great success in France, suggest a superior bande dessinée." - Martin Hoyle, Financial Times

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       The Suicide Shop is set in an indeterminate and bleak future. Environmental catastrophe has blighted the world, and the news is all bad, all the time. The Tuvache family, however, soldiers on, running one of the few business with a recipe for success (though not many repeat customers): the Suicide Shop. They offer every variety of suicide-aids -- and advise their customers as to the appropriate methods. As their slogan has it:

Has your life been a failure ? Let's make your death a success !
       There's an atmosphere of doom and gloom, and not just because it's good for business: the Tuvaches -- and everyone else -- can't seem to see to find the joy in anything. The two eldest Tuvache-children are following admirably in their parents' footsteps, but the youngest, Alan, just can't see the light (or rather: the darkness) and get with the programme. Ever cheerful, all he can see is the bright side of things. What's a parent to do ?
'We force him to watch the TV news to try and demoralise him, but if a plane carrying two hundred and fifty passengers crashes and there are only two hundred and forty-seven fatalities, he only remembers the number of survivors.' She imitates him: '"Oh, Mother, how lovely life is ! Three people fell out of the sky and they weren't hurt at all."
       Alan is completely out of place in this dark, dark world, but he's also oblivious, just putting a cheerful spin on every calamity. Business is steady at the Suicide Shop (and Teulé has good fun with this selling of death), but inevitably over the years some of Alan's good cheer and attitude slowly begins to rub off on the others in his family. Change is in store for the store -- and everybody involved -- and soon their slogan has become: 'Kill yourself with old age !'
       The Suicide Shop is entertaining, with the Tuvaches taking their business very seriously and the one unwanted ray of sunshine and hope, in the form of son Alan, making all the absurdities even more clear. It's gentle fun, with some very amusing scenes and ideas, and it's even rounded off with an appropriate and poignant ending.
       The Suicide Shop is nothing exceptional, but a pleasant, frothy little entertainment (and nowhere near as dark as the subject-matter might suggest).

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The Suicide Shop: Reviews: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of French literature

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About the Author:

       French author Jean Teulé was born in 1953.

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© 2008-2021 the complete review

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