Suicide would be an odd and noteworthy work even if Levé had not killed himself. It is constructed almost entirely from short, lithe sentences written in the second person. Ostensibly these sentences are being spoken by an acquaintance looking back after 20 years on a friend who killed himself, and they both describe this suicidal man and narrate small but meaningful anecdotes from his life. On a most basic level it is clear that the narrative voice is attempting to do what any survivor would after a suicide – fill the vacuum of meaning – yet the success of Suicide is that it verges on allegory, allowing much broader interpretations.
Levé uses all the tropes that we have come to associate with suicide, but he animates them in original ways. The suicide’s appearance and personality is detailed with uncommon sensitivity and scrupulousness, as are the feelings left behind in his friends and family. For example . . .