“A character driven, emotional book that feels very personal and speaks to the failings of modern society.”
Title: Suicide Club
Author: Rachel Heng
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release Date: 10 July 2018
I’m going to start by saying that I think that this book has been poorly advertised. The official synopsis (taken from both Goodreads and Amazon) states ‘In this debut set in near future NYC—where lives last 300 years and the pursuit of immortality is all-consuming—Lea must choose between her estranged father and her chance to live forever.‘ – By emphasising the all consuming desire to live forever brings a certain image to mind, one that this book definitely is not about. Going in I expected something with a bit more power, more of a physical struggle, something that would show me the limits of how far a character was willing to go to reach their dream; what I was treated to was a character driven emotional arc that felt very personal and spoke to the failings of modern society.
So, not a bad book, just not matching with the idea conjured by its blurb.
As a debut novel this is a wonderful piece of literature; well thought out characters, clear character visions and goals, and enough social commentary to make the novel relevant for the foreseeable future. However I feel that it also suffers from the authors lack of published experience…. (says the unpublished writer).
In places it felt as if certain ideas were being held back from their full potential, admittedly this does allow more focus on the individual characters – creating that personal feel to the novel – however the idea behind the novel was so interesting I would have liked to have read more about it, to have the world fleshed out beyond what is presented.
Also certain characters outside of the main two or three felt as if they were taken straight from a template, their actions conforming to generic tropes of ‘Boss who doesn’t want to make a fuss’ and ‘Pathetic ex-boyfriend who doesn’t really learn his lesson’. Whilst they are only there to act as blockades in the path of the main character, I felt bored reading the scenes they were in, waiting for the handful of main characters to once again meet up and save me from the drudgery of these inconsequential inclusions to the plot.
Yet, with all of this nipping at my heels, I did enjoy my time with the book. The basic idea behind it intrigued me enough to stay reading, watching the characters combat a social situation (that could I could actually see happening in a few hundred years) had me turning the page again and again; I just wish the author pushed the idea a little bit further than she did.