Suicide Club by Rachel Heng
Today on The Tattooed Book I review sci-fi novel Suicide Club, the debut from author Rachel Heng.
In a future where your class, prospects and life expectancy are all known from birth, a group of people are turning their back on extending their natural lives. Instead of taking advantage of the technology that offers them a lifespan of over a hundred years, these people are seizing control of their lives the only way they know how – by ending them.
Lea was content with her life, with a high-powered job, a younger man on her arm and a future as a ‘lifer.’ She had more than most could dream of. Lifers are the privileged ones, the upper class who are allowed access to the body upgrades and modifications that will keep them alive for hundreds of years.
Everything changes for Lea when she sees her father on a crowded street. Not unusual for many but Lea’s father left her and her mother decades earlier, hiding from the consequences of a violent crime. She goes against her instincts and calls out, following after him, straight into oncoming traffic. This small act of carelessness gets her noticed, and before she knows it she is being questioned as if she was attempting suicide.
In a future where living as long as possible is seen as the only sane option, suicide is an act of defiance. Lea is questioned and assessed for mental stability. She is suspected of being a member of the terrorist group The Suicide Club, a collective who indulge in unhealthy foods, music, orgies and even film their members commit suicide. She needs to prove herself fit and worthy of the treatments that will allow her to continue as a lifer.
When she sees her father again and comes to understand why he has returned to the city, the realisation forces her to look back on his departure and why he found it so necessary to leave in the first place. Scared of losing him again, she follows him into the heart of The Suicide Club.
It barely took me a handful of pages to fall in love with Suicide Club. Why? Because Rachel Heng has managed to create a world I want to know everything about. It’s disturbingly dark with its clinical, utilitarian governance yet so easy to imagine that it draws you in completely. It’s refreshing to read a novel picturing the ‘perfect’ society gone too far. We’re all too used to filthy streets, toxic rain and prostitutes on every corner in sci-fi but this angle opens up the genre into something I found really exciting.
Lea is the perfect conduit from the overly health-conscious society to the underground world of The Suicide Club. She’s followed the herd in her role as a lifer but she’s smart and curious enough to wonder why and how people can live any differently. Her father broadened her horizons as a child and he does the same when she’s an adult.
Suicide Club is an incredible novel that’s so packed with great ideas and is so much fun to read that I can easily see being a bestseller 2018. Being based in such a fascinating setting I would also be incredibly surprised if it isn’t picked up for a film or tv adaptation (get in there Netflix!). Grab your copy now because it’s fun, fast and leaves you thinking. I’m keeping my fingers crossed tightly that there is more to come from the world Rachel Heng has created because I couldn’t get enough of it.
Read an excerpt from Suicide Club or learn more about the inspiration behind it in the video below: