Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Suicide Collectors by David Oppegaard

The path home was overrun with weeds and hanging vines. Norman hiked through the mess as best as he could, slapping the mosquito against his neck as he tried to keep his fishing pole from tangling in the park's tall grass.

Title: The Suicide Collectors
Author: David Oppegaard
ISBN: 9780312381103
Publisher: St. Martin's Press/2008
Pages: 294
Rating: 5/5

The Suicide Collectors is another of my best reads of 2009. It is a book which is difficult to review. Or to put a genre to it. After a while, I simply gave in and went with the flow.

There is something like Despair which has plagued the Earth for some years now. This has resulted in mass suicides. And as soon as there is a suicide, a shadowy group arrives from nowhere to collect the bodies.

There are only a handful of people who wish to remain alive, not to give in no matter what. It is a lone fight for them. They are out numbered by the shadowy group of suicide collectors. Norman is one such person, who stands up against the Suicide Collectors. He does not allow them to take his wife's body. He even ends up marking one of the Collectors. Norman, along with his elderly neighbour Pops, leaves on journey across North America. They get to know that a scientist is trying to find out a cure against the Despair.

On their way, they meet a young girl, Zero, both whose parents committed suicide. As she has no one, they take her along. Norman tries to make the best of the situation. He knows that the girl has to go on living no matter what.

This novel somehow reminded me of The Road by Cormac McCarthy although there is not much common in here. It is terrifying, very stark, bleak and scary at places. In the sense that it can become a reality. Despair can hit us at any time and giving into it is going to be easy. To fight against it, is hard. This novel has surprises, twists, turns and is powerful. I would call it gloriously creepy. The prose is wonderfully flowing and very gripping. A book to read, to think about and revisit, if possible.

Thanks David, for sending me the novel. The title as well as the cover pulled me in. For good.