A Cure for Suicide

A Cure for Suicide


by Jesse Ball
27 AUG 2015

Add To Cart

Extent: 256pp

Format: Paperback


  • Longlisted, National Book Award, United States, 2015


From the acclaimed author of Silence Once Begun comes a beguiling new novel about a man starting over at the most basic level, and the strange woman who insinuates herself into his life and memory.

A man and a woman have moved into a small house in a small village. The woman is an ‘examiner’, the man, her ‘claimant’. The examiner is both doctor and guide, charged with teaching the claimant a series of simple functions: this is a chair, this is a fork, this is how you meet people. She makes notes in her journal about his progress. He is showing improvement, but his dreams are troubling. One day, the examiner brings him to a party, and here he meets Hilda, a charismatic but volatile woman whose surprising assertions throw everything the claimant has learned into question. What is this village? Why is he here? And who is Hilda? 

A fascinating novel of love, illness, despair and betrayal, A Cure for Suicide is the most captivating novel yet from this audacious and original writer.


‘This dystopian novel from Ball is both a puzzle box and a haunting love story…Whatever the source of this book’s elusive magic, it should cement Ball’s reputation as a technical innovator whose work delivers a powerful emotional impact.’ STARRED Review, Publishers Weekly

‘A poet by trade, Ball understands the economy of language better than most fiction writers today.’ Huffington Post

‘With the simplicity of a fable and the drama of a psychological thriller, Ball tells a story about starting over from nothing, reconstructing life from its most basic elements…At each unforeseeable turn, A Cure for Suicideis a story Ball ensures we understand and, because it is subtle and breathtaking, we are happy to be told.'  New York Times

‘Fans of eerie dystopian settings à la Never Let Me Go will love this read.’ Elle

‘[A Cure for Suicide] is a novel that is simultaneously powerful and elusive, whose dreamlike textures and sense of dislocation lend its reflection of our own fears genuine power, suggesting not just unsettling questions about our own unease about suffering, but also probing the uncertain intersection of fiction and reality, memory and imagination.’ Australian

‘As in his previous novel Silence Once Begun, Ball’s prose is careful and elegant, with moments of freeze-dried lyricism…Beyond the narrative games it achieves a beauty of a kind; pathos even. It repays a second reading.’ Age/Sydney Morning Herald

‘[A] strange and beautiful tale…I am already looking forward to rereading it.’ Otago Daily Times

‘Ball artfully keeps the reader in the same position, measuring out a little information here, a little there, always suggesting that no information is, or ever can be, complete, until an emotional disaster, a tragic revelation and two or three extraordinary structural shifts break open our way of seeing things.’ Guardian

‘A love story about a penniless man and a rich, dying woman, and it’s one of the finest things Ball has ever written, a magical, gripping burst of emotional history, which interrogates the book’s ultimate subject, suicide and the desire for oblivion… In Ball’s best and eeriest work, it gives him the power to touch deep, luminous emotions.’ Chicago Tribune

‘Jesse Ball is a master of dialogue…The book prompts a conversation about life—how we enter it, how we navigate its shoals, and how we exit it.’ New York Journal of Books

‘Ball, also a poet, writes with a restrained specificity, his language so precise and clinical that it compounds into lyricism.’ O Magazine

‘A Cure for Suicide by Jesse Ball is irresistible, hitting you between the eyes without ever veering into sentimentality.’ Big Issue

‘Magnetic, suspenseful, occasionally heart-rending…There are echoes of the Peter Weir movie The Truman Show and the Tom McCarthy novel Remainder.’ Boston Globe

‘What starts out as a playful thought experiment evolves into a meditation on grief, trauma and recovery in Jesse Ball’s stylishly wrought novel…[A] strange, always engaging story.’ Huffington Post, Best Fiction Books of 2015