A Cure for Suicide
***LONG-LISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD***
From the author of Silence Once Begun, a beguiling new novel about a man starting over at the most basic level, and the strange woman who insinuates herself into his life and memory.
A man and a woman have moved into a small house in a small village. The woman is an “examiner,” the man, her “claimant.” The examiner is both doctor and guide, charged with teaching the claimant a series of simple functions: this is a chair, this is a fork, this is how you meet people. She makes notes in her journal about his progress: he is showing improvement yet his dreams are troubling. One day the examiner brings the claimant to a party, where he meets Hilda, a charismatic but volatile woman whose surprising assertions throw everything the claimant has learned into question. What is this village? Why is he here? And who is Hilda? A fascinating novel of love, illness, despair, and betrayal, A Cure for Suicide is the most captivating novel yet from one of our most audacious and original young writers.
This dystopian novel from Ball (Silence Once Begun) is both a puzzle box and a haunting love story. In the opening pages, the reader is dropped into a future world where brainwashed and childlike adult "claimants," cared for one-on-one by mostly female "examiners," are being systematically resettled in bucolic villages. One examiner, Teresa, is working to rehabilitate Anders, a claimant. However, memories of his previous life are intruding into Anders's dreams and eventually into his new life. In the next section of the novel, a new claimant and examiner are introduced. This claimant, Martin, progresses smoothly, until he meets Hilda, a female claimant who is keenly aware that something is wrong with their world. Each section illuminates the characters and situations from the previous portions, which draws the reader into the material more effectively and heartbreakingly than a traditional structure would allow. This method also gives Ball the opportunity to play with the conventions of the dystopian genre, addressing the surprising sociological cause of his alternate reality. Befitting the intricate premise, Ball's prose, mostly dialogue between examiners and claimants, veers from precise to obfuscating and back again, as though the novel were a film rapidly going in and out of focus. Whatever the source of this book's elusive magic, it should cement Ball's reputation as a technical innovator whose work delivers a powerful emotional impact.
A Cure for Sucide
This was one of the worst books I've ever read! I was completely lost by the plot, but forced myself to finish it anyway. Needless to say, I won't be seeking out this author for his other books.