Everyone wishes they had more time, whether to pursue their dream career or travel across the world. Imagine if you could extend your life and set out to accomplish everything you’d ever wanted. Imagine being able to maintain your youth for decades. What would you do if you had more time? Would you make the most of it? These questions form the basis of Rachel Heng’s Suicide Club, a novel that combines technology with the prospect of living forever. But there’s a dark side to immortality and Heng takes the reader on a journey through themes of loss, parenthood and what it means to be alive.
Suicide Club is set in a world where technology has advanced to the point that people can sustain their lives for decades. The life-loving take regular supplements and enhance themselves with materials like ‘SmartBlood.’ Meanwhile, the antisancts are people considered to be against the health-obsessed system. The Suicide Club is made up of those who are bored with the system and want to die on their own terms.
Readers are taken through the lives of two women called Lea and Anja. Lea has a good job, an attentive fiance and is on track to becoming an immortal. Anja spends her time looking after her mother, who’s being kept alive by the latest technology. Both characters are different, yet both are drawn into the Suicide Club.
Lea’s perfect life is interrupted by the return of her father and it eventually makes her question the reality of living forever. Lea and Anja are both connected to their parents and watching them struggle to come to terms with their lives is a compelling story. Lea and Anja are both strong-willed and capable, with the two finding comfort in each other. Heng paints their relationship in such a way that it keeps readers guessing as to whether they can maintain their friendship.
Immortality is presented as a terrifying concept. It’s shown to be a fashion statement, a way of getting ahead of other people. It’s also presented as a trap, as shown with Anja’s mother. What is the point of living forever if you’re condemned to being in bed for the rest of your life?
Suicide Club is a cautionary tale, but it’s also a celebration of the small moments that make up everyday life. It’s about loving your family and remembering those who make a difference. Heng invites us to make the most of our time in the small moments and that is what it means to truly be alive.