Jill's Take on A Cure For Suicide
We've purchased several of Jesse Ball's books over the years and eagerly read most of them. In fact, one of our favorite books is The Curfew published in 2011. The imagery from that book still sticks with me and I find myself recommending it to people whenever asked for a good read.
I liked A Cure for Suicide but it took me awhile to get there. This positive feeling crept up on me as I read through the pages. I found the concept of the book really interesting and haunting. The imagery is pretty spare and for some reason I found I was thinking about what the lighting must be like where the characters were living. I had the sense of a sun filtered through the clouds which created this sort of bright but still dull grey. Enough to make you squint, but not enough to require sunglasses.
It was through this filtered light that I found myself reading through these pages. It takes a while for Ball to reveal why the characters are where they are but still never overtly states the reasons. The reader gets to understand the circumstances that drove the main character to be in his current circumstances only toward the end of the book.
I found that I was engaged with the characters and the scenes but kept asking myself "why" for quite a bit of the time I was reading. As I said, you learn why for the main character, but not for the others who are administering to him. The last few scenes in the book were a little bit confusing for me as there is a shift in the format and change in the focus of character. There are some details that are revealed in this section, but it really just served to confuse me a bit on what was going to happen with one of the more minor characters as she shifted in importance at the very last minute.
Overall, I would recommend this book. The language is beautiful, the concept is intriguing and the images that are created are memorable.
Zac's Take on A Cure For Suicide
A Cure For Suicide by Jesse Ball is exactly what the title purports it to be. It isn't THE cure for suicide, but A cure for suicide. The implication is that there are and have been many such attempts to cure suicide and this is just the most recent version.
The distinction is subtle but important, as is revealed through the unraveling of this mysterious and haunting novel.
Any title or statement that makes such a bold proclamation is setting you up for a failure, at least in my mind. It's like true false questions on exams - the more ironclad they seem, the less true they really are.
As Jill said, we've read a few of Jesse Ball's novels over the years, and adore his poetic sensibility and turn of phrase. It's a delight to see his books in shop windows around the world, and if A Cure For Suicide were made into a movie, I would be first in line to buy a ticket.
This review was a intentionally vague. I don't want to ruin any of the surprise and delight you will receive in trying to figure out what the main character is doing, how he got there, and what is going to happen next.
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