In the world of Suicide Club, selection is based not on race, class or intellect but on the genetic potential for longevity. Lifers are nurtured and given state-of-the-art treatment and nutrition. What happens to everyone else is less clear, although we do get hints as the story progresses.
Lea is a Lifer, a true believer and at 100 years old is looking forward to living much longer, or even possibly being selected for immortality. Anja is dealing with the reality of a mother whose consciousness is gone but whose body refuses to die.
Events bring each to a crisis. Lea is confronted by her dissident father and Anja sees an opportunity to help her mother.
What I like about Suicide Club is that not everything is explained. We get a picture of a society where life is sacred and there is immense pressure to maintain good health and lifestyle. What we don’t know is why the government moved in this direction, rather than being in the pockets of alcohol, tobacco and fast food manufacturers as many western governments are now. There is a falling birthrate, but whether this is due to loss of fertility or individual choice is not clear.
This uncertainty doesn’t bother me. Most people, most of the time, don’t stop to think about how their society came to be where it is or how things might have been different. Both Lea and Anja are thoughtful characters but their reflections are on their own situations within the context of their world as is.
This isn’t so much a thriller as a thoughtful, beautifully written novel about two women considering what it means to live and to die. It portrays a society where people are coerced by kindness rather than cruelty to live in a particular way of life, which raises interesting questions for readers across the political spectrum.
I received a copy of Suicide Club from the publisher via Netgalley.
View Suicide Club on Goodreads
Enjoyed this? Take a look at my review of The Power by Naomi Alderman