Title: Suicide Club
Author: Rachel Heng
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Page Count: 339
Publication Date: 2018
Category/Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Adult Fiction. Dystopia
Good Reads Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.32)
In this debut set in near future NYC—where lives last 300 years and the pursuit of immortality is all-consuming—Lea must choose between her estranged father and her chance to live forever.
Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever—if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange—where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold—she has a beautiful apartment and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die.
But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead chose to live—and die—on their own terms. In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world.
*Questions are from Rabbit Hole Blogger. They may contain spoilers.
- People have always strived to conquer death, but would it really deliver on all our hopes? What would happen to our society if we lived forever?
- Why does immortality tend to go hand-in-hand with dystopias?
- Procedures, routines, and ordinances are all measures used by “the Ministry” to exert control over the citizens – all of which promote well-being and longevity. Do you ever feel assaulted by the amount of advice/research/products, all of which purport to have good health in mind? Where do you fall, personally, on the “healthy living” spectrum?
- Lea’s life is a lifeless existence that sees her move mechanically between her high-powered city job and a soulless apartment each evening where she eats Nutripackets for dinner, or occasionally cooks a “trad meal” where a carrot is considered an indulgence. Everywhere joy is stripped from life; A famous opera singer no longer sings because it supposedly weakens her heart. Running is forbidden for lifers – in favor of Pilates and meditation – as it puts too much stress on the body. The citizens are warned of the dangers of living outside. Today’s health- and beauty-obsessed culture sometimes seems to sacrifice the quality of life. What examples in real life can you think of that mirror this trend?
- Those who question the Ministry or way of life are condemned as “antisanct” and put on a government watchlist and lose eligibility to be part of the upcoming “Third Wave”—which is, full immortality for its prized “lifers,” citizens with perfect genetic compositions. Is this enough to maintain control over society long-term?
- Lea goes from being “pro the system” to realizing the life she’s chasing is a sham when her father, Kaito, reappears in her life after having been missing for 88 years. What is it about his re-emergence that turns things for Lea?
- At its heart, Suicide Club is about family, love, and letting go of those that we love, in particular, the mortality of our parents. Anja’s mother “lives” in a bath after multiple botched treatments -grey-skinned, inactive, unable to die. Lea’s father is on the run and unable to procure needed organs to keep living. Discuss the issues of eugenics and euthanasia.
- The Suicide Club is a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead, choose to live―and die―on their own terms. Do you think the way they go about spreading their message is the most effective manner to make a change and re-take control?
- Suicide Club asserts that living forever would come with its own set of problems, that dying is okay, and that in many ways it is death that shapes and gives our lives meaning. Do you agree with those ideas? If you could live forever, would you? Why?