Distraught and hopeless, an eighteen-year-old distance runner, Regan, decides to end her life. And she’ll do it through an unusual new method available only on the dark web. Enter Ülle, a woman with amnesia, who will, inadvertently, make Regan’s wish come true.
Soon Ülle begins to remember her past and the outrageous steps her government took to combat a deadly pandemic of parasitic infections, which have brought her to this new country and to Regan’s house. Meanwhile, Regan might be changing her mind, and she finds herself more and more concerned about keeping both Ülle and herself alive. But the shadowy organization that brought them together wants to keep them both quiet – permanently.
A Suitable Companion for the End of Your Life is a darkly comic dystopian tale that probes our anxieties around boundaries, whether territorial or bodily, and our fraught desire not to die alone.
Read the opening pages here.
Watch a recording of the launch here.
Read Robert's playlist for the novel here.
Read Robert's discussion of the novel's backstory here.
"Propulsive, dizzyingly surreal . . . [A] surprising, deeply moving portrait of people finding an unconventional kind of family."
"Showcases a deft hand at pacing, plot and the craft of judicious sentences."
"Gripping from the first page. . . . This is timely, provocative, ethically challenging fiction that asks whether the drive to survive is stronger than the inevitability of death."
"Unpredictable and completely original. . . . A propulsive, rewarding, and thought-provoking read."
"Packs a punch."
"In the right hands, science fiction can turn feelings of alienation into something both gripping and profound. In the dystopian society in Robert McGill’s A Suitable Companion for the End of Your Life, human lives have become undervalued and memory is a variable concept; throw in allusions to pandemics and IKEA-style flat-packed furniture and you’re left with an existentially compelling dystopia."
"Compelling science fiction about empathy and survival."
"As thought-provoking as it is entertaining."
"A sheer delight! It grabbed my attention from the first page and didn’t let go."
"A brisk tumble of Ballardian dystopia, melancholy, and dark but zesty humour. "
"Suspenseful and funny."
"This is one of those strange little gems that you finish in two or three sittings and never really forget. Opening with apparent surrealism (protagonist Regan ordering an illicit 'flatpacked' human being to keep her company during the final days before her suicide) McGill's novel proceeds outward, fleshing out its strange-yet-familiar world until the premise makes perfect sense. Regan is characterized memorably through McGill's excellent sense for detail. Meanwhile, the story of her new companion unfolds through interstitial chapters, starting long ago in a distant land and drawing ever closer to the book's present. The two threads meet in an ending that doesn't surprise or subvert, but simply stuns with the power of its delivery. "
"A thoughtful, provocative novel about mental health and the harm inflicted by an unquestioning loyalty to family."
"McGill’s U-turn from realism to this delightfully dark and dystopian near-future romp is not only impressive, but grounded in real, powerful human anxieties and longings. Strange, slim, and razor-sharp, it’s an arresting read (and features one of the best and most memorable villains in CanLit!)."