cover image The Suicide Club

The Suicide Club

Toni Graham. Univ. of Georgia, $24.95 (152p) ISBN 978-0-8203-4850-6

Winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, Graham’s third collection of stories is a poignant and darkly humorous look at life after loss. Interlaced narratives reveal the bonds that form in a “suicide survivors’” support group led by Dr. Jane McAllister, who appeared in Graham’s previous books, The Daiquiri Girls and Waiting for Elvis. The members of the Suicide Club feel like outsiders in Hope Springs, Okla. Dr. Jane, group facilitator as well as a suicide survivor herself, seeks to find her place among her unwaveringly faithful neighbors. Professor David Slater, grappling with notions of masculinity in the wake of his father’s suicide, embarks on a quest for self-improvement. Bookstore owner Holly Hemenway, perhaps the book’s most memorable character, tries to purge her life of the residue of death by burning incense, rearranging her furniture, and joining an online dating service. And SueAnn Smith struggles to maintain her confidence in the church and in her marriage after losing her son. Each character’s battle with faith, family, and personal responsibility is rendered with Graham’s signature sharp wit. Still, these glimpses are brief, and as closure continually eludes the characters, the reader, too, is often left wanting more. [em](Sept.) [/em]