This is a story set some time in the future, where the world has gone through some form of environmental crisis and large numbers of people no longer want to continue living. And in order to help them shuffle off their mortal coil(s), the Tuvache family has for many many years run The Suicide Shop, providing a range of means to end it all to suit all pockets. They are a family suited to this work, a mournful bunch. But then something extraordinary happens – Mme. Tuvache gives birth to Alan (named after Alan Turing who of course committed suicide himself), who turns out to be a bit of a disappointment – he really enjoys life, and sets out on a mission – to make his family happy.
Why did I want to read this?
I came across this initially not as a book but as a film, an animation which sadly doesn’t seem to have been released in the UK and isn’t available on DVD unless you can speak French (which despite many years of school I still haven’t managed). The Book God found out that the novel was published in English and having read and enjoyed (if that’s the word, and I’m really not sure it is) Eat Him if You Like by the same author I decided to give this a go.
What did I think of it?
I enjoyed this short novel very much. Alan is a lovely character, completely subversive, going about the business of changing his family quietly and steadily and against all the odds. It’s described as a black comedy and that seems fair; it’s amusing rather than laugh out loud funny and is also actually very sweet.
I won’t give away whether Alan succeeds, I’ll only say that I found the end both unexpected (though perhaps I shouldn’t have) and satisfying, and would definitely recommend this to you if you would like something a little bit different and, yes, very French. I would love to see how the film handles the story.