Monday, February 2, 2015
The Suicide Collectors by David Oppegaard (Password Clue)
Synopsis From Dust Jacket:
The Despair has plagued the earth for five years. Most of the world's population has inexplicably died by it's own hand, and the few survivors struggle to remain alive. A mysterious, shadowy group called the Collectors has emerged, inevitably appearing to remove the bodies of the dead.
In the crumbling state of Florida a man named Norman takes an unprecedented stand against the Collectors, propelling him on a journey across North America. It's rumored that a scientist in Seattle is working on a cure for the Despair, but in a world ruled by death, it won't be easy for Norman to get there.
You guys already know this about me, but I'm not a huge fan of science fiction, or dystopian fiction. There is actually very little of either genre that I tend to enjoy, but when I do, I love them. I think I can still count on two hands, the total number of books or series that I enjoy from either genre. I first read The Suicide Collectors back in 2009, when it first came out. I hadn't started blogging yet, hence I've never written a review for it before, and since I decided to dust it off, and give it another go, this is the perfect opportunity for me to convince you that you really do need to read this book.
It actually came to my attention because of the Barnes & Noble Book Clubs, which sadly are now defunct. They used to be a lively and engaging group of message boards, covering a wide swath of topics. It was on the Fantasy Board that this book was first introduced as a monthly read, and I jumped a the chance to get my hands on it. The cover was extraordinary, the synopsis had me hooked, the moderator seemed to be really excited about it (thanks Paul), and the author was from my home state of Minnesota. As soon as the book was released, I took a trip to Barnes & Noble, paid for the book, and had it read in one sitting. I was actually hoping to link that old discussion for you guys to read through it, but sadly they decided to not even keep the archives up.
I really don't want to go into too many plot points or character studies. You guys know that I normally don't really have that much of an issue doing that, but this is one of those books that you really do need to discover on your own, and it would be so easy for me to spoil something for you. I am willing to say, and it's even more so now that I've done a second reading, that Norman is one of those character that you can't help but fall in love with. There is an inner strength to him, one that is not forced or contrived. He is one of those men, who may not be the most eloquent in verbally expressing how they feel, but you know that you can depend on them for whatever you need, that they are true "men" in every sense of the word.
The only other tidbit I want to throw out there is this, I love the way the author chooses to keep the cause of the Despair a little foggy. I've never been a huge fan of books, or movies for that matter, that feels a need to explain every little detail. I seriously doubt the characters are really ever going to be aware of every little nuance or piece of back history, so why should the reader. Some things simply can't be explained, there needs to be a bit of mystery to them, otherwise they just aren't that impactful. Explaining everything, takes away some of the punch. I think that was part of my problem with The Town that Forgot How to Breathe, it was too neatly wrapped up, too explained, hence it lost some of it's mystery and horror.
So please, if you only read one book that I recommend this year, let it be this one. It's a gorgeously written journey, one that explores what it means to be human, in the face of overwhelming heartache and pain. It's a story that will stay with you for days after you turn the last page.
Challenges: Password (Suicide)