The Suicide Collectors
by David Oppegaard
In 1995, Stephen King’s television two-part movie The Langoliers (published in Four Past Midnight) aired on ABC. Since viewing The Langoliers, I became captivated by apocalyptic novels. I would assume most people would feel a sense of bereft being the only or among the few people left in the world. However, when I was a teenager, I daydreamed about what I would do if the Earth population dwindled. I would read and enjoy the downtempo silence, but of course sooner or later the silence would be a monotonous surging of frustration.
The Suicide Collector by David Appeared is an apocalyptic novel. The world’s diminishing population is due to multitude of suicide. Narrated through Norman the main character, travels to Seattle after hearing that there is a new flourishing community with a cure for the despair. Along his journey with neighbor Pops, they encounter a variety of people demonstrating an array of coping strategies such as a gangs, feral children, and a cult. Throughout the story Oppegaard keeps the reader interested through giving titbits of information about the mysterious dark cloaked suicide collector, who peculiarly knows when someone has given in to the despair. The million-dollar question, what has caused the despair also coaxes the reader on to the next page. Even though I enjoyed reading majority of Oppegaard’s first novel, the conclusion felt short and cheated. In fiction, sometimes there should be more.
So, I will be looking for another apocalyptic novel that can quench my thirst for a catastrophe with a few good characters. It should be stated Oppegaard’s characters were likeable and believable through his use of riveting flashbacks.