THIS ARC WAS PROVIDED by Tor Publishing via NetGalley IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW
Future Publication Date: May 28th, 2019
Applicable /r/Fantasy Bingo Squares: Slice of Life, Novella, Published 2019
“Death was a journey, composed of little deaths, little steps along the way. Sometimes the steps were close together, tightly packed, and death came rapidly. Sometimes they were spaced far apart, and it approached at a crawl. Suicide offered a choice of speeds. it was the ultimate in self-determination.”
Longer is a poignant, uncomfortable, and genuine snapshot of life, death, and the threshold between the two. It is simply written, but impeccably so – while you won’t necessarily find lyrical, poetic prose, you will find a thoughtful and intense discussion on old age, fairness, and humanity. There is a lot packed into this short novel.
At its heart, this is a novel about a man choosing to die. He has the chance to juve – to take a cocktail that will reset his body back to its peak – but is instead choosing to commit suicide by refusing it. Suicide is an intensely personal and delicate topic, and I was impressed by the tact with which it was handled here. Cav’s experiences rang true to anyone who has contemplated suicide in the past. It is an end, a choice, an embrace – yet at the moment of truth, Cav is pulled back when he can see the edge. I was initially worried this novel would be one that glorified suicide as sacrifice, but am very pleased to say that is not the case where Cav’s final experiences are concerned.
Most people with a history of depression have come to that precipice in the past. They’ve looked death in the eye, and saw it as a comfort. An option. An escape hatch. To Cav, it is all of these and more – it’s also a way to speak out against the unfairness inherent in who can or cannot afford to juve. It was painful to watch Cav’s slow decline, as he drew away from his partner, Gunjita, who had just recently juved. She, too, hurts and feels the pain of watching someone she loves deeply and dearly slowly recede.
While I did not love this novel, precisely, it was a novel that made me feel very deeply. I did not like reading it, particularly, because I saw myself at my worst reflected in it. At the end of the day, I don’t know if this novel is good or bad for those who are in a bad place in life. However, I do think that it’s discussing an important topic in a way that I don’t often see.