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Literature / The Suicide Shop

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"Has your life been a failure? Let's make your death a success."
- The Suicide Shop motto
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The Suicide Shop (originally: Le Magasin Des Suicides) is a 2006 Black Comedy novel by the French author and film-maker Jean Teulé about the Tuvaches, the family that runs the afore-mentioned shop in the distant future after the "Big One" where life has become meaningless for most, leading to them seeking out the Suicide Shop, where they have a method to kill yourself for any budget. When their youngest son, Alan is born, they discover that he is not like the others.

An animated film based on the book was made in 2012, directed by Patrice Laconte. It also happens to be an Animated Musical.


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This book includes examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Downplayed, save for indications that their technology is a bit more advanced, including a 3D television set that projects holograms and holograms in general.
  • After the End: The story is implied to take place after "the Big One." News reports from the television and radio push it further with reports of extreme weather patterns and other forms of calamities from all over the world.
  • Apocalypse How: Judging from news reports, definitely a Class1 (Planetary Scale, Societal Disruption).
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "What would you take?" asked a customer to Lucrèce about how she would commit suicide. She briefly spaces out then explains why she, and her family to an extent, must resist the temptation.
  • Babies Ever After: By the end of the novel, Marilyn is pregnant with the child of her lover Ernest.
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  • Black Comedy: The book features several mentions of suicide that are played for laughs.
  • But We Used a Condom: It is mentioned that Alan was born because his parents tested out a condom with a hole in it that was meant for customers who wished to commit suicide by contracting a venereal disease.
  • Cheerful Child: Alan, to his family's dismay, is very happy and enjoys life. His parents even tried to get him to frown when a customer saw him smiling.
  • Compliment Backfire: Alain calling Marilyn "pretty" actually drove her to tears.
  • Crapsack World: The reason a lot of people in this setting want to commit suicide is because the world has become a desolate wasteland and everyone is miserable.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: The youngest of the Tuvache family is the first one to commit suicide where the story suddenly ends.
  • Death Seeker: Marilyn wants to die, but her parents won't let her. The parents too, but feel they must stay alive so they can help the other death seekers.
  • Fat and Skinny: Marilyn is described as being chubby, while Vincent is said to be anorexic.
  • Forgets to Eat: Vincent is described to be "anorexic". It's even implied that when he became so weak, he had to be injected with a glucose solution which only gets a mention when Alan used it to replace the supposed poison in the syringe that was injected in Marilyn with a needle to give her a Kiss of Death ability. As Madame Tuvache decides to cook actual good food and the Suicide Shop becomes a restaurant, he regains his appetite and has even gained weight.
  • Heel Realization: After sending Alan away to join the suicide commando in Monaco (as punishment for being too cheerful), Mishima later sobs in his cellar, realizing that he misses him. The entire family soon feels the same.
  • Kill the Cutie: Alan commits suicide in the end.
  • Kiss of Death: Marilyn was supposedly given this ability (through a syringe filled with poison injected through her veins) on her birthday to be of use in the store. Subverted in that Alan replaced the fluid with something else beforehand.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Vincent is occupied with his inventions. Hence, he's always up in his room.
  • Meaningful Name:
  • A Mistake Is Born: Alan's parents state that they did not plan to have three children and that Alan was conceived when they tested a condom with a hole in it meant for customers who wished to kill themselves by contracting a venereal disease.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Alan's teenage sister Marilyn, though dramatically lacking in the area of self-esteem, gets to be this as she starts exploring her femininity.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: The entire Tuvache family take great pleasure in helping their customers kill themselves. Except Alan, of course, much to their chagrin.
  • The Pollyanna: The trope of a character remaining happy and optimistic in spite of their misfortunes is exaggerated to great effect. No matter what, Alan can and will find the bright side in all things dark and dreary.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Is it "Alain" or "Alan"? Both are used interchangeably.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Alan's self-imposed demise by letting go of the bandage that was used to pull him up after accidentally falling from the shop's tower. The book isn't exactly lighthearted fare as it revels in its dark humor but it still comes as a shock.
  • Suicide as Comedy: Alan's sergeant during his stint in the Monaco suicide commando team ends up blowing himself up out of frustration at the child's cheery demeanor.
    "Watch carefully as I'll only be showing you once."
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Alan convinces a female customer who wanted to kill herself because she thought she was too ugly that she has reason to keep living.
  • Theme Naming:
    • The Tuvache family are named after suicides (see Meaningful Name).
    • A cemetery warden named Ernest falls in love with Marilyn.
  • We Will Have Euthanasia in the Future: Set in a shop that sells it.
  • White Sheep: Alain is looked down on by the rest of the Tuvache family for his cheerful nature.

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