Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Suicide watch

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 16 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1129
  1. Margaret McCartney, GP and Financial Times columnist
  1. margaretmccartney{at}

    Sewers, sex, and torture have spaces already devoted to their illumination, so why not give suicide a little more attention? Dan Rhodes’s novel has at its centre just such a place: a museum of suicide. It contains portraits of Vincent Van Gogh, sculptures of Antony and Cleopatra, models of train tracks and scale bridges, and a toy house with the walls “cut away so to reveal Sylvia Plath with her head in a gas oven.” There is also a series of photographs of stars, including Halle Berry and Vanilla Ice, as a demonstration of happy endings—those who have failed attempts on their life. Room 10, called “Count your blessings,” invites people to write down something good about their lives and pin it to the wall (the owners of large sexual organs give particular vent for their gratitude.)

    The benefactress of the museum is known as “Pavarotti’s wife” (having a husband whom she has steered firmly in the direction of appearing like Pavarotti). Her mission is “a prevention initiative, a way of dissuading …

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