The Washington Post Reviews The Suicide Collectors

From The Washington Post:

THE SUICIDE COLLECTORS By David Oppegaard St. Martin's. 294 pp. $23.95

How will the world end? In fire rather than ice, as Robert Frost wrote? With a whimper rather than a bang, as T.S. Eliot predicted? In The Suicide Collectors, David Oppegaard opts for horribly individualized versions of all four deaths. He suggests that life on earth will wind down with "the Despair," as a plague of suicides -- by poison, guns, tall buildings, speeding cars, hanging ropes and many more disturbingly creative methods -- spreads throughout the world.

Five years after the Despair begins, Norman and Pops are the last living residents of their abandoned Florida town, which "was covered in a furry coat of moss . . . wooden walls decaying like the skin of a gangrenous sailor." But they must flee because Norman has killed a Collector, a member of the mysterious group that confiscates the bodies of the suicides, to what end no one knows. Drifters claim that a scientist in Seattle has found a cure for the Despair, so Norman and Pops hop into a plane that the resourceful Pops has restored and set out across the country. Their journey is thwarted at every turn, though, because the Collectors have put a bounty of "five hundred pounds of dried venison and twenty functioning generators" on Norman's head, a mighty tempting reward when civilization has collapsed.

While The Suicide Collectors has the flippant dialogue and nonstop thrills of an action movie, Oppegaard addresses the emotional costs of suicide seriously. "Once someone you loved killed himself," he writes, "a new, dark trail of thought had been cut for you to follow. . . . Suicide survivors could, if they weren't careful, swiftly find themselves at the end of that freshly blazed trail, standing with one foot in life and one in death." Suicide is catching. As always with the best science fiction, The Suicide Collectors takes a real-world phenomenon to its logical conclusion.

3 comments:

Missy said...

Woot!

Kathy said...

Just thought I would stop by and say I am currently reading your book. I'm a little over half way through it. This is one creepy, dark novel. =) Will post a review on my blog when I finish it.

Blogagaard said...

Cool. I appreciate it. Yeah, I just tried to write the darkest nightmare I could come up with.

Thanks for stopping by, Kathy!

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