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1. Generation A: A Novel
2. Life After God
3. Eleanor Rigby: A Novel
4. Miss Wyoming
5. School Spirit
6. All Families are Psychotic: A
7. Hey Nostradamus!: A Novel
8. Microserfs: A Novel (P.S.)
9. Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated
10. Girlfriend in a Coma: A Novel
11. Shampoo Planet
12. Darwin's Bastards: Astounding
13. JPod: A Novel
14. Marshall McLuhan
15. Player One: What Is to Become
16. Terry
17. The Gum Thief: A Novel
18. City of Glass: Doug Coupland's
19. Polaroids from the Dead
20. Generation X. Geschichten für

1. Generation A: A Novel
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 297 Pages (2010-06-08)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1439157022
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Generation A is set in the near future in a world where bees are extinct, until five unconnected people all around the world— in the United States, Canada, France, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka—are all stung. Their shared experience unites them in ways they never could have imagined.

Generation A mirrors Coupland’s debut novel, 1991’s Generation X. It explores new ways of storytelling in a digital world. Like much of Coupland’s writing, it occupies the perplexing hinterland between optimism about the future and everyday apocalyptic paranoia. Imaginative, inventive, and fantastically entertaining, Generation A is his most ambitious work to date. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (42)

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid, but not his best.
Not much to say here. This is a really solid, well thought out narrative.The characters are great (particularly Harj).And I love Doug Coupland.But I have yet to read anything of his that I enjoyed as much as Hey Nostradamus!

I'm just sayin'.

3-0 out of 5 stars A is for Anomie and Anti-globalization
"A" is for apple, and where would we be without them? It's funny to realize that although apples, like the letter A, were there at the beginning (think Adam, think Eve), the last apple you ate probably didn't exist until about 100 years ago. Granny Smiths started in 1868, Golden Delicious in 1900. Mucking about with nature doesn't always end in disaster.

Canadian author Douglad Coupland's 2009 novel, "Generation A", is also about beginnings, and apples, and mucking about with nature, though his take is more acidic Granny than sweet Golden. Despite some excellent writing, however, the book is an excellent beginning in search of an end, and A without a Z, a flower waiting for a bee.

Mr Coupland first buzzed into the public conscience on the wings of his high-flying 1991 novel, "Generation X", which for better or worse helped popularize "Gen X" as handle for those born in the 60s and 70s. I admit that, in a fit of contrarianism familiar to anyone who has ever been 17, I never read the book precisely because of its popularity. My confident predictions that Mr Coupland would be quickly swatted away have been decisively disproved over the last 19 years, as Mr Coupland has continued to pollinate popular culture with a steady stream of both non-fiction work and novels, of which "Generation A" is his thirteenth.

Over the years I have at times bumped into Mr Coupland's works on bookstore shelves, each time experiencing the disquiet I normally reserve for new Pearl Jam albums or Rutger Hauer movies--are you allowed to stay popular for 20 years? It all seems so old-fashioned somehow. Fittingly, the disconnect between popular culture and the individual has been a recurring theme in Mr Coupland's novels over the years. His work has hovered between consistency and repetitiveness, always engagingly and amusingly written, balancing mysticism and realism, although he tends to revisit similar situations and themes. Often, the strength of the writing overcomes the touch of déjà vu you feel on cracking open one of Mr Coupland's books.

Not surprisingly then, "Generation A" (Aha! Thought I'd never get around to it, didn't you?) is in many ways an echo of "Generation X". The structure is the same, with a framing narrative used to set the stage for the five main characters to tell a series of stories. The characters themselves are Mr Coupland's usual suspects, social outsiders in various stages of anomie, twentysomethings trying to extract meaning from a random universe.

"Generation A" is set in a near-future in which bees are believed to be extinct (this was a topical issue in 2007-8, when there were stories of mysterious disappearances of bee colonies; it now appears reports of their extinction were exaggerated). Believed to be, that is, until five young people in countries around the world are all stung. First is Zack, an Iowan corn farmer with ADD and a reckless streak. Then there's Julien, a socially awkward shut-in who spends his life in World of Warcraft, Diana, a religious Canadian dental hygienist with Tourette syndrome and Samantha, a New Zealander gym trainer. Rounding out the quintet is Harj, a Sri Lankan orphaned by the 2004 tsunami who works as a telemarketer for Abercrombie & Fitch.

The five are first put in isolation, extensively studied, and then released. Thanks to the Internet, they each discover they have become major celebrities without the compensation of celebrity paychecks. It comes as a relief when one of the scientists whisks them all away to a secluded island off the coast of British Columbia, where he instructs them to tell stories as a way of prompting their bodies to secrete proteins that may have attracted the bees.

It's much like Mr Coupland's other books. If you haven't read them, it's a bit like Douglas Adams on drugs, or Chuck Palahniuk off of them. The other obvious comparison is to fellow Vancouver author William Gibson; the two share a fascination with popular culture and technology, though Mr Coupland seems less enthusiastic on where they are taking us. As a result, his tone is more direct and satirical than Mr Gibson's. In "Generation A", the words positively sting. Diana's ex-boyfriend smells "of Rogaine and failure", Harj's call-center job involves discussing "colour samples and waffle-knit jerseys with people who wish they were dead."

However, some of this waspish criticism feels cheap and easy. Globalization has become this year's political correctness, the soft target that nobody will stand up for. Abercrombie & Fitch are already something of a self-parody. And do we truly live in a "fame-driven culture, with its real-time 24-7 marinade of electronic information"? Maybe. Some people do, I guess. But that leaves millions upon millions who don't have a Facebook account, couldn't care less about Rihanna or Justin Beiber, and whose only use for a cell phone is, er, to make phone calls. Mr Coupland demolishes this straw man effectively, but I feel his anger is largely misplaced.

On a technical level, there is a lot to like here. The first half of the book, as we are introduced to each character and watch their reactions to becoming specimens in a jar, is some of Mr Coupland's sharpest, juiciest writing. The second half, not so much. As amusing as it all is, the whole thing starts to feel a bit false. I don't for a minute believe any of the characters introduced in the first half would come up with the stories presented in the second. Mr Coupland champions story-telling as a means of creating order in our lives, but the ending is a chaotic, gooey mess. It's the literary equivalent of "Lost", 300 pages leading up to and ending that leaves you feeling a bit cheated.

It's as though you're reading two books awkwardly grafted together--one, a smart, biting social critique set in a nicely downbeat near-future, where mankind's doom is more apathetic than apocalyptic; the other, a weird mish-mash of offbeat short stories suddenly cut off by a "what the--?" ending. No guesses which of the two I'd rather be reading.

Still, grafting is what gave us the Golden Delicious, and there's still plenty to savor here. Just don't let the ending leave you with a bitter aftertaste.

3-0 out of 5 stars Solid Offering from Coupland
i found Generation A to be a solid effort from one of my favorite authors Douglas Coupland.I have to be honest here though as I did expect this novel to be better than it was, at least in my opinion.

I just didn't think the development was up to par with his works of the past and yes, I was expecting this to be as good as Generation X in my mind.How can you not be disappointed with those expectations?

My favorite work by Coupland is a little book called Shampoo Planet and I recommend that highly!

3-0 out of 5 stars Fizzles
Generation A has a great premise, yet the novel sadly fails to deliver on it. The idea of five unrelated people being connected through a bee sting -- when bees have become extinct -- is provocative.And although the individual scenes in the novel are well written, author Douglas Coupland never follows through on the intrigue that he sets up at the book's beginning.

After about 100 pages I lost interest and, I must admit, never actually finished the book.I used to force myself to finish reading everything that I started, but now I've come to a point in my life when there is too little time to read all of the great books that I am interested in, so if something hasn't fully drawn me in by page 100, I bail out.Regrettably, Generation A is such a book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Meh
I have loved just about everything Coupland has ever written. Generation A, while written well, seems like Coupland just wrote it to pay the bills. It's like it's his own joke. Let's market a book and give it a name that reflects the great hype surrounding Generation X and make it fall flat and THAT IS THE JOKE. It could have been so much more. The narratives the characters told were just completely unnecessary for the most part.He could have written cultural indictments in many other ways.It was about as self-indulgent as Brett Easton Ellis' Lunar Park except that for most of Coupland's writing, we seem to be in on the joke. After reading this book, I feel like I WAS the joke.
... Read more

2. Life After God
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 368 Pages (1995-03-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$3.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671874349
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Offering spiritual guidelines for a modern generation that has broken away from organized religion, a collection of inspirational stories seeks to reintroduce God as a supportive figure in a fast-paced society. Reprint. Tour. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (71)

3-0 out of 5 stars Life, eh? What a let down...
This is the 8th book of Coupland's I've read and I wouldn't have read this many if I didn't think he was a great writer doing wonderful things with the novel. He's been on a roll recently starting with "Eleanor Rigby" up to his latest "Generation A" so I was interested enough to go back to those I've not read, his early books.

"Life After God" is a collection of short stories written in blocks of 2 or 3 paragraphs per page, large font, with a single child-like illustration accompanying it. The stories are plotless and meandering. One concerns a man in a hotel talking with his neighbours and then setting free some goldfish into a reservoir. Another features a mother who's left her husband and is talking to the child about her plans for their future and their present journey. Another features aimless thirty-somethings, unhappy with who they became, wondering what to do, trying to change, etc.

I'll say that the final story above hooked me. I've had similar conversations with friends I was close with who I've met at a wedding of a mutual friend or who I've met up with at a bar for a drink, and we've talked about who we were, who we are, and where we hope we're going. It's called growing up. It's called life. The overall message seems to be "life isn't what I thought it would be" and I get that, I think we all feel that. But as a book? It just drags.

Coupland's written about the vapidity of modern life and the aimlessness of the individual and the human condition exceptionally well, better than many writers around now and easily the equal of classic writers of the past. "Life After God" though is a misfire. It's got the ideas and the scenes of a book like "Eleanor Rigby" and "Generation A" minus the humour and the plot. As such, it's one of his least interesting works and at best feels like a self-indulgent experiment and a half drunk conversation with someone you vaguely liked once.

4-0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - I'll be thinking of this for a long time
"Life After God" is a collection of short works, some of which are obviously fictional and some it is hard to tell. The common theme running through all the stories is of life without the certainty of the existence of God. In various ways the author grapples with the implications of a world without God through telling stories of the people struggling to find meaning and purpose in various, and sometimes very strange, situations. This book is a lament for something lost with comfortable modernity, but it poses no answers and there is very little certainty between the covers of this little book.

I found myself devouring the pithy, but often beautiful prose as I stumbled with the characters through shattered inner landscapes amid malls, airports, cubicles, and family homes. I haven't read something so melancholy and true for a very long time. As you read Coupland's struggle will resonate with you on several levels. You'll see yourself, your friends and loved ones, and our culture at large. Even though this was fiction it was honest in a way that most writing isn't. So, read this and think deeply about our loss. What will become of a world without God? Coupland doesn't know, and doesn't give any indication that he believes in God. Let me close with a quote from the book that sums it up nicely without giving too much away.

"My secret is that I need God - that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem to be capable of giving; to help me be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond being able to love."

This is definitely worth your time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Different take on a great book
Am I the only one who thinks that this is one narrator going through different points in his life?So many people seem to say that this is different narrators of short stories.I tend to beleive that this is one narrator going though vastly different points in his life.

Some of the more highlighted reviews on this site seem to have no problem spoiling what I think is the ultimate surprise of this book.That someone with a somewhat depraved past who could qualify as a hipster comes to a revalation that by todays standards would be considered "uncool".

This book is not preachy AT ALL.It is just something that is laid out there and the reader can take at face value.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
"Beyond a certain age, sincerity ceases to feel pornographic."

This is an excellent book. I would say that if you've read any of his other works, you would know what to expect, but that's not entirely the case; this specific work consists of several substories from parties unrelated to each other but with similar mindsets and feelings.

It is a short book, and if you are a reader, you can get through it in a day or so, and this should be a fine use for a day.

You should know what to expect: it is not an uplifting book, but it is an intimate book in that it delves in a unique way into the consciousness of the viewer. More detail than that would not do it justice.

4-0 out of 5 stars Oddly Interesting
I enjoyed this book. My first Coupland read but certainly not my last. Seemsquite different than other Coupland I've read. Though the majority of this book is somewhat depressing and bleak, I found myself filled with a great feeling of resolution at the end which ultimately ties in the God concept. Had the book been more uplifting throughout, the feeling of resolution at the end wouldn't have been there.
... Read more

3. Eleanor Rigby: A Novel
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 272 Pages (2006-05-30)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$3.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582346437
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Â"HeartwarmingÂ…Coupland has a canny take on everything, and his one-liners zing.Â"Â--People

Eleanor Rigby is the story of Liz, a self-described drab, overweight, crabby, and friendless middle-aged woman, and her unlikely reunion with the charming and strange son she gave up for adoption. His arrival changes everything, and sets in motion a rapid-fire plot with all the twists and turns we expect of Coupland. By turns funny and heartbreaking, Eleanor Rigby is a fast-paced read and a haunting exploration of the ways in which loneliness affects us all.

Amazon.com Review
Liz Dunn isn't morbid, she's just a lonely woman with a very pragmatic outlook on life. Overweight, underemployed, and living in a nondescript condo with nothing but chocolate pudding in the fridge, she has pretty much given up on anything interesting ever happening to her. Everything changes when she gets an unexpected phone call from a Vancouver hospital and a stranger takes on a very intimate place in her life. From here the plot of Douglas Coupland's Eleanor Rigby skyrockets into a very bizarre world, rife with reverse sing-alongs and apocalyptic visions of frantic farmers. The style and plot paths are very identifiably Coupland--slightly mystical, off-kilter, and very, very smart. Ultimately a novel about the burden of loneliness, Eleanor Rigby takes its characters through strange and sometimes nearly unimaginable predicaments.

Fans of Douglas Coupland's later novels, particularly Hey Nostradamus! and Miss Wyoming, are bound to like Eleanor Rigby. Like many of his novels, the journey is strange and unexpected but you come out at the other end with a snapshot of a sardonic and bizarre but ever-so-slightly hopeful place. --Victoria Griffith ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

4-0 out of 5 stars Eleanor Rigby
In Douglas Coupland's Eleanor Rigby we meet Liz Dunn, a lonely woman with nothing but an ordinary lo-fi life to look forward to each day. Single, older, and overweight, she divides her time between work and her bland condo until one evening she gets a call from a hospital telling her that a Jeremy, a child she put up for adoption when she was a teenager, needs her help. With the amazingly free-spirited and yet very sick Jeremy, Liz learns how to live.

Coupland is by far one of my favorite authors so I may be biased in saying that this an amazing book. A huge population of American women today can identify with Liz Dunn, including myself. Her loneliness is palpable and her connection with Jeremy is magical.

5-0 out of 5 stars Really Liked It
I am a big Coupland fan.This is a positive fan review.So understand that.I really liked the story and the characters.Will read again sometime.

3-0 out of 5 stars emotional and physical difficulties, all 249 pages
Washington Post writer Heather Havrilesky concluded her review: "In the end, it's as if we've spent a few pleasant enough hours in the terminal with her, biding our time until our flight departs."

Well, yes. The central character, Liz Dunn, is fat, neurotic, bored, lonely, and accidentally self-poisoned with radiation, and pregnant at age 40. Coupland endows her with enough sarcastic wittiness to compensate a little. Other characters carry pathological obsessions, multiple sclerosis, terminal twitchyness, bitchiness, or brattyness. Stir these in with a few sharp-angled plot twists and you have something to bide your time until the flight departs. But the mixed reviews of this book imply that merely biding time is not universally appealing.

The happily-ever-after climax of the last couple of pages was not especially fulfilling, a little like overeating, and then pounding down another fistful of Fritos. I suppose that if any of the characters were more appealing, or less debilitated, the persuasory lesson--You can do it, be patient--would be more compelling.

2-0 out of 5 stars Self-help fiction
Nothing really works in this novel.There's a tangible bite in the lonely narrator's disillusioned musings on life, but Coupland doesn't take it anywhere useful: on the one hand, neither her voice nor her actions betray enough of the self-defeating social mechanisms which could make her total ostracism from society understandable; on the other, and worse, her insights are rarely compelling enough to make her credible as the teller of truths whose wit gets to shine in a climactic scene, or keep us interested in the flimsy yet confusing glimmers of life's mysteries that Coupland seems to want to share with us.

And this just relatively interesting narrator is the only strong point in the book. The other characters are one-dimensional foils to Liz (either angelic or laughably bad), the plot is full of heavily significant coincidences and predictable twists, and the line between funny trivia and would-be profundity is hard to establish.

I was interested enough in Liz to read this all the way through, but by the end I was just going through the gestures.

2-0 out of 5 stars Unlovable loser makes an unbelievable u-turn
This is my first Coupland book, and based on it, I may not pick up another one.

The main character, Liz, is the human equivalent of a potted plant.She lives a life of loneliness and quite frankly, relishes it.All of a sudden, she gets reunited with the son she had in high-school, product of a one-night stand on her class trip to Rome.Mind you, this was her first and only sexual encounter.Her son is the picture of beauty, such a gentle soul, despite having been molested in every single foster home he lived in.

So as not to ruin the plot for some of you, who may want to adventure into it, suffice to say the ending was terribly unplausible from the moment she gets contacted by the Austrian police. ... Read more

4. Miss Wyoming
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 320 Pages (2001-01-09)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$3.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375707239
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
From the bestselling author of Generation X and Microserfs,comes the absurd and tender story of a hard-living movie producer and a former child beauty pageant contender who only find each other by losing themselves.

Waking up in an L.A. hospital, John Johnson is amazed that it was the flu and not an overdose of five different drugs mixed with cognac that nearly killed him. As a producer of high-adrenaline action flicks, he's led a decadent and dangerous life, purchasing his way through every conceivable variant of sex. But each variation seems to take him one notch away from a capacity for love, and while movie-making was once a way for him to create worlds of sensation, it now bores him. After his near-death experience, John decides to walk away from his life.

Susan Colgate is an unbankable former tv star and child beauty pageant contender. Forced to marry a heavy metal singer in need of a Green Card after her parents squander her sitcom earnings, she becomes the alpha road rat. But when the band's popularity dwindles, the marriage dissolves. Flying back to Los Angeles in Economy, Susan's plane crashes   and only she survives. As she walks away from the disaster virtually unscathed, Susan, too, decides to disappear.

John and Susan are two souls searching for love across the bizarre, celebrity-obsessed landscape of LA, and are driven, almost fatefully, toward each other. Hilarious, fast-paced and ultimately heart-wrenching, Miss Wyoming is about people who, after throwing off their self-made identities, begin the fearful search for a love that exposes all vulnerabilities.Amazon.com Review
The eponymous heroine of Miss Wyoming is one Susan Colgate, a teenbeauty queen and low-rent soap actress. Dragooned into show business by herdemonically pushy, hillbilly mother, Susan has hit rock bottom by the timeDouglas Coupland's seventh book begins. But when she finds herself the solesurvivor of an airplane crash, this "low-grade onboard celebrity" takes theopportunity to start all over again:

She felt like a ghost. She tried to find her bodily remains there in thewreckage and was unable to do so.... Then she was lost in a crowd of localonlookers and trucks, parping sirens and ambulances. She picked herway out of the melee and found a newly paved suburban road that shefollowed away from the wreck into the folds of a housing development. Shehad survived, and now she needed sanctuary and silence.
She's not, of course, the only Hollywood burnout who'd like to vanish intothin air. Her opposite number, a producer of big-budget, no-brainer actionflicks named John Johnson, stages a similar disappearing act. After anear-death experience, in the course of which he is treated to a vision ofSusan's face, he roams the western badlands. And even after his return toL.A., Johnson is determined to unravel the mystery of this woman's fate.

Throughout, Coupland displays his usual gift for capturing the absurditiesof modern existence. The distinctive minutiae of our age--junk mail andfast food, sitcoms and Singapore slings, and the "shop fronts bigger andbrighter and more powerful than they needed to be"--come to vivid, funnylife in this author's hands. And while Susan and John occupy center stage,Coupland is just as generous with his peripheral characters. A scriptwriterand his supernaturally intelligent girlfriend, a recluse who spends hisevening generating Internet rumours--all manage to be blessed and cursed,numbed by their pointless existences but full of humanity when put to thetest. Picture Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut collaborating on a Tinseltownversion of Zen and the Artof Motorcycle Maintenance and you come halfway to graspingCoupland's brand of thoughtful, supremely funny storytelling. --MatthewBaylis ... Read more

Customer Reviews (73)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Microserfs
Dennis Coupland's Miss Wyoming was not at all what I expected, but it was well worth the wild read.Part social commentary on the cult of celebrity and part gonzo Hollywood buddy book, this is a fun story that has some very poignant moments.From the aging movie producer in recovery to the crazy mom of the former child beauty queen, the characters are well-drawn.

The locations lack detail and panache, but the real story here is the people.This book leaves you wanting just a little bit more.

1-0 out of 5 stars And Miss Wyoming is...
Would you be seriously interested in knowing who Miss Wyoming is? No.
So why read this book?

2-0 out of 5 stars Douglas Coupland's worst book! Do not judge him by this book!
Whatever Miss Wyoming is--a publishing-quota filler, a bout of writer's block, evidence of exhaustion (the man is prolific)--the writing is not representative of the writer.
Why's it stink? Well, mostly because it's just lazy, and ill-conceived. Coupland spends these 311 pages taking aim at the easiest target, Hollywood phonies, filling Miss Wyoming with insufferably obnoxious characters and their tirades of referential dialogue. Normally in his books, this character/type is the exception, a trivial anomaly who's mostly there to mock. Here, though, they're the rule, and there's not one tolerable character because of it. Even the two "heroes" are tossed off, lame approximations of outsider underdogs. The writing is weak too, bereft of Coupland's usual incisive wit and shrewd perception, instead given to sassiness and stupid similes. The book at times even verges on self-parody (Chapter Four), where the prose is so stereotypically rote it could have been spat out from a machine, or a beginning college creative writer.
Anyway, Douglas Coupland is a great author. Almost all of his other work is gold-plated gold. This is his dud. All authors have them; so be it. Read literally any other of his works.

1-0 out of 5 stars Totally Trashy!
If you are addicted to reading the tabloids then you'll love this book. If you're looking for depth, and intellectual stimulation stay away!

3-0 out of 5 stars I don't know what to think
I hated it, then I was indifferent, then I briefly liked it, now I'm indifferent. I think I agree with the other posters who said the characters were not well developed. It's one of those works where you shouldn't think too much; otherwise you'll spoil it for yourself and the author. At the end of the day, if a novel brings me to Amazon to read other reviews, it must deserve at least 3 stars. ... Read more

5. School Spirit
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 128 Pages (2003-01-15)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$21.73
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 2914563078
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The first in a new series from Dis Voir, Encounters asks a well-known contemporary artist to decide which subjects he or she wants to discuss in their book. Each artist's book therefore offers a specific experience in terms of content. In accordance with this principle, each artist also selects a person--due to certain elective affinities--with whom he or she would like to share this exchange. At the very least, the resulting collaborative volumes serve as an artistic and political laboratory of the present.
In this first installment, French artist Pierre Huyghe chooses to encounter Canadian writer Douglas Coupland, author of Generation X, because of the influence Coupland has had on his generation and on Huyghe's own work. Together they discuss the construction of characters, of narrative techniques based on chance, and the political dimension present in Coupland's work--themes that are also fundamental questions on Huyghe's projects.

In Collaboration with Douglas Coupland. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic One-Off from Coupland
If you are a die-hard fan of Coupland, this is a must have. The narrative in the book is very, very short, reminiscent of a warm-up for Hey, Nostradamus! or Girlfriend in a Coma. Yet somehow it is very coherent and affecting by the end. The faux-yearbook entry text dispersed throughout is sometimes comedy gold and sometimes very sad and affecting. The overall "theme" of the book is the inconsequentiality, yet monumental drama that is high school life and it is handled very well. The montage of yearbook shots, and their juxtaposition with the text works very well. Also, note that the copy I ordered was the original non-trade paperback edition with the slipcover that is shown on Coupland's site (www.coupland.com). I believe there is a newer, trade edition and this may be the one you get if you order from Amazon UK, although I am not sure. In any case, this is undoubtedly an "art" book and may not be worth the price for someone looking for something more substantial from a literary perspective. However, if you love Coupland's style and want a unique item to add to your collection, this is an excellent little piece.

2-0 out of 5 stars very little text, mostly pictures of 70s high schools
Very little text, mostly photos from a high school in the 70s,
with yearbook-syle quotes and classmate notes. Extremely short
narrative of a ghost of a student inhabiting schools interspersed.
If you're looking for substantial text from/about Coupland, pass.
If you want a short, nutty post-modern fiction thing, this is it.
Some of the photos are amusing, but most manage
to make the 70s unglamorous and depressing. ... Read more

6. All Families are Psychotic: A Novel
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 288 Pages (2002-09-07)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$4.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582342156
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The most disastrous family reunion in the history of fiction.

The Drummond family, reunited for the first time in years, has gathered near Cape Canaveral to watch the launch into space of their beloved daughter and sister, Sarah. Against the Technicolor unreality of Florida's finest tourist attractions, the Drummonds stumble into every illicit activity under the tropical sun-kidnapping, blackmail, gunplay, and black market negotiations, to name a few.But even as the Drummonds' lives spin out of control, Coupland reminds us of their humanity at every turn, hammering out a hilarious masterpiece with the keen eye of a cultural critic and the heart and soul of a gifted storyteller. He tells not only the characters' stories but also the story of our times--thalidomide, AIDS, born-again Christianity, drugs, divorce, the Internet-all bound together with the familiar glue of family love and madness.
Amazon.com Review
Canadian author Douglas Coupland's seventh novel could be subtitled When Bad Things Happen to Bad People. As the estranged members of the Drummond family straggle into Florida for youngest sister Sarah's impending space shuttle launch, we only begin to glimpse the true meaning of the word dysfunctional. The family, plagued by terminal disease, financial disaster, felonious activity, infidelity, and violence, is forced--by a series of ever more fantastic occurrences--to attempt to deal with each other. That would be an easier task if they didn't loathe one another with a ferocity usually reserved for war criminals. It's not quite Jerry Springer-style tabloid TV set in Disney's Haunted Mansion, but the family members do muster the strength to insult, assault, and infect one another with abandon. With the exception of the family matriarch, Janet, they are unappealing and selfish, but without Machiavellian brilliance. Instead, they're inclined toward out-and-out stupidity, blinded by self-interest rather than enlightened by it. As they bumble through misadventure after misadventure, there seems to be no reason to cheer for them. Even Sarah, the family's shining star, has her dark side.

True to Coupland's style, the book reads lightning fast. The author punctuates his narrative with clipped dialogue and punchy exchanges that advance the palpable sense of unease and tension running throughout. And amidst the acrimony, Coupland throws a genuine caper into the plot, involving Prince William's farewell letter to his mother, Princess Diana. Add to that the oppressive heat and the postmodern, pop culture junkyard of Coupland's Florida setting, and the entire book brews and builds like a roiling tropical storm. --S. Duda ... Read more

Customer Reviews (63)

4-0 out of 5 stars Be serious.
At first, I didn't like this at all.It was so ridiculous and in no way believable.Around page 90, I decided to let myself go and just roll with it.I thought, "There is no possible way this could get any more ridiculous."And, lo and behold, it did, to the point of being absurd.I read this for my book club and I'm almost positive I'm the only one who loved it.I've never read anything else by Coupland, so I don't know how this one ranks, but I do know that if you go into it an open mind and the ability to suspend reality, you will love it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Arrested Development meets The Goonies directed by The Coen Bros.
Just finished this book over two days of commuting and would recommend it. It's the only other book besides JPod that I've read of Coupland's and really admire his writing and imagination. He takes the real and twists it into the surreal so subtly and with such humor that you don't even notice. It's dark comedy along the lines of the Coen Brothers and this one in particular felt like Arrested Development meets The Goonies. It's light but not too light and I plan to read more Coupland in the future, for a nice break from heavy fiction now and then.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Lighter Side of Dysfunctionality
This novel tells the story of a dysfunctional Canadian clan that finds itself in Florida in 2001 to watch its only overachieving member take off as a member of the space shuttle crew. It's possible that one has never met a family quite as dysfunctional as the Drummonds. Their promblems include AIDS, liver cancer, suicidal depression, thalidomide-caused birth defects, baby-selling, adultery, illegal prescription drugs, just to name a few. You wouldnt' think that a book about this much tragedy is funny, but indeed it is. In fact, this book is very funny indeed. It's nearly impossible to explain the plot without spoilers, so suffice it to say that the novel jumps back and forth between the family's past and present, showing that they've always had issues. This is a great book for when you need something laugh-out-loud funny. Coupland has a tremendous gift for the bizarre and absurd. When you're done, you won't think your life is quite so strange after all.

3-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre satire
This is the first novel I have read by this author.In fairness, I am not a huge fan of satire, but this book is satire at its most mediocre.The characters are outrageous and not at all believable.I won't bore you with the story line as there are many reviews here that have already done that.Coupland's metaphors are good, but the dialogue between the characters seems forced.The story line is entertaining in the same way that bad movies about vacations or holidays are entertaining.Basically this book is a good read for airplane travel and bathroom forays.It is a book one can put down for awhile and come back to later without feeling any sense of urgency to finish it.It is a funny book, but I found myself laughing at the idea of someone writing these words down more than at the characters themselves.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book...
This book was a wild rollercoaster of a ride. Twists and turns, happy and unhappy moments...this book has it all. I always enjoy reading about people who can find beauty in the negative/ugly aspects of life. All Families are Psychotic has the ability to dig deep down inside your soul, making you re-examine your own life. Douglas Coupland is definately one of my favorite authors to read. A+ for All Families are Psychotic.
... Read more

7. Hey Nostradamus!: A Novel
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 244 Pages (2004-07-02)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$4.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582344159
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Pregnant and secretly married, Cheryl Anway scribbles what becomes her last will and testament on a school binder shortly before a rampaging trio of misfit classmates gun her down in a high school cafeteria. Overrun with paranoia, teenage angst, and religious zeal in the massacre's wake, this sleepy suburban neighborhood declares its saints, brands its demons, and moves on. But for a handful of people still reeling from that horrific day, life remains permanently derailed. Four dramatically different characters tell their stories: Cheryl, who calmly narrates her own death; Jason, the boy no one knew was her husband, still marooned ten years later by his loss; Heather, the woman trying to love the shattered Jason; and Jason's father, Reg, whose rigid religiosity has separated him from nearly everyone he loves. Hey Nostradamus! is an unforgettable portrait of people wrestling with spirituality and with sorrow and its acceptance.
Amazon.com Review
Considering some of his past subjects--slackers, dot-commers, Hollywood producers--a Columbine-like high school massacre seems like unusual territory for the usually glib Douglas Coupland. Anyone who has read Generation X or Miss Wyoming knows that dryly hip humor, not tragedy, is the Vancouver author's strong suit. But give Coupland credit for twisting his material in strange, unexpected shapes. Coupland begins his seventh novel by transposing the Columbine incident to North Vancouver circa 1988. Narrated by one of the murdered victims, the first part of Hey Nostradamus! is affecting and emotional enough to almost make you forget you're reading a book by the same writer who so accurately characterized a generation in his first book, yet was unable to delineate a convincing character. As Cheryl Anway tells her story, the facts of the Delbrook SeniorSecondary student's life--particularly her secret marriage to classmate Jason--provide a very human dimension to the bloody denouement that will change hundreds of lives forever. Rather than moving on to explore the conditions that led to the killings, though, Coupland shifts focus to nearly a dozen years after the event: first to Jason, still shattered by the death of his teenage bride, then to Jason's new girlfriend Heather, and finally to Reg, Jason's narrow-minded, religious father.

Hey Nostradamus! is a very odd book. It's among Coupland's most serious efforts, yet his intent is not entirely clear. Certainly there is no attempt at psychological insight into the killers' motives, and the most developed relationships--those between Jason and Cheryl, and Jason and Reg--seem to have little to do with each other. Nevertheless, it is a Douglas Coupland book, which means imaginatively strange plot developments--as when a psychic, claiming messages from the beyond, tries to extort money from Heather--that compel the reader to see the story to its end. And clever turns of phrase, as usual, are never in short supply, but in Cheryl's section the fate we (and she) know awaits her gives them an added weight: "Math class was x's and y's and I felt trapped inside a repeating dream, staring at these two evil little letters who tormented me with their constant need to balance and be equal with each other," says the deceased narrator. "They should just get married and form a new letter together and put an end to all the nonsense. And then they should have kids." --Shawn Conner, Amazon.ca ... Read more

Customer Reviews (56)

5-0 out of 5 stars Coupland's best
This is one of my favorite novels. It's the most poignant book of Coupland's I've read. There's something very honest and captivating about it. Highly recommended.

3-0 out of 5 stars Woops
I was really surprised at how disappointed I was with this book after seeing all of the positive feedback it had gotten.The book started off great, and about the last 40 pages just kind of bored me.I suggest reading the first two chapters and skipping the rest.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing. . .
Douglas Coupland is an amazing writer and Hey Nostradamus! is more proof of his greatness.This book touches upon many different aspects of life, ranging from tragedy, false accusations, religious fanatics and hypocrites.I especially enjoyed the multiple character approach to telling the story, it makes the book well-rounded.Hey Nostradamus! is a powerful and encompassing book.Coupland always delivers well-written books that are deserving of the readers' time and money.Hey Nostradamus! is a fine piece of literature.

3-0 out of 5 stars Serious, sad, and funny
Hey Nostradamus is about a school shooting, the kind we are all too familiar with, and its aftermath.Three alienated, isolated students in fatigues come into school and start shooting up the cafeteria.Under stress, two of the shooters (the point is made a couple of times that they can't be "gunmen", but that "gunboys" isn't a word) kill the third.A courageous student kills another with a thrown rock to the head.Surviving students, emboldened by the rock thrower, mobs the third, crushing him with a cafeteria table.Coupland explores his subject in a creative way, radiating outward from the time and place of the tragedy.The book is divided into four sections, each narrated by a different person, each with a different involvement.First is Cheryl, the blonde, born-again shooting victim.Cheryl tells her story looking back on the incidents of her final day from the perspective of one who has passed on, but isn't in heaven.The cosmology is deliberately hazy - she may be at a way station for souls, or maybe this is it and her faith was misplaced.Jason, the rock-throwing boy and Sheryl's high school boyfriend narrates the second part. The final two parts belong to Heather, a woman who finally breaks through Jason's defenses and becomes his girlfriend, and Reg, Jason's father.

Hey Nostradamus is "really" about a couple of things: faith and God, and how much what we do is who we are.This is the most serious Coupland book I've read, and the most ambitious as he tries to get inside the heads of people of different ages and genders.It makes me want to catch up with what else he's done besides his well-known Generation X.Hey Nostradamus isn't preachy or overcomplicated, but it's thought provoking and reminiscent of Nick Hornby's better work.If you like an irreverent writing style but want a little more complexity in the story, you'll enjoy Hey Nostradamus.

3-0 out of 5 stars A strangely disjointed, unusual novel, that is still worth reading
At times, Douglas Coupland's writing reminds of Kurt Vonnegut (particularly when he flirts with speculative fiction as he does in Girlfriend in a Coma and Hey Nostradamus).Even if the novel doesn't completely come together, it's worth reading because of the author's unique insight on everything from the mundane to the very nature of the universe.

Hey Nostrodamus is an unusual novel; one that doesn't fully come together but is still worth reading.Coupland has a unique voice and in Hey Nostrodamus, he tackles issues of faith and redemption.Like Vonnegut, I often stop and re-read lines in a Coupland novel - deceptively simple lines of prose - that are so brilliant and insightful, they blow me away.

The novel itself though is strangely disjointed.Hey Nostradamus feels like 3 or 4 novellas linked by a common theme and a few of the same characters.The story is told in four parts, each voiced by a different character (Cheryl, the teenager who is killed in a high school shooting; Jason her young husband ten years later; Heather, his girlfriend; and Reg, Jason's father).I would have liked to have seen Coupland give each character a unique writing style.There wasn't much shift in narrative style and the story itself veers in some strange directions, particularly near the end of Jason's chapter (his sister-in-law's reaction to a tragic death and her solution to a chance acquaintance in Vegas is so bizarre it felt like it belonged in a different novel).

Coupland has a unique voice and this is a novel worth reading. His prose is filled with astute observations about the nature of faith and how it can both comfort and abuse.This novel may not come together neatly, but life doesn't either.

3 ½ stars.
... Read more

8. Microserfs: A Novel (P.S.)
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 400 Pages (2008-11-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061624268
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

They are Microserfs—six code-crunching computer whizzes who spend upward of sixteen hours a day "coding" and eating "flat" foods (food which, like Kraft singles, can be passed underneath closed doors) as they fearfully scan company e-mail to learn whether the great Bill is going to "flame" one of them. But now there's a chance to become innovators instead of cogs in the gargantuan Microsoft machine. The intrepid Microserfs are striking out on their own—living together in a shared digital flophouse as they desperately try to cultivate well-rounded lives and find love amid the dislocated, subhuman whir and buzz of their computer-driven world.

Amazon.com Review
Microserfs is not about Microsoft--it's aboutprogrammers who are searching for lives. A hilarious but frighteninglyreal look at geek life in the '90's, Coupland's book manifests apeculiar sense of how technology affects the human race and how itwill continue to affect all of us. Microserfs is the hilariousjournal of Dan, an ex-Microsoft programmer who, with his codercomrades, is on a quest to find purpose in life. This isn't justfodder for techies. The thoughts and fears of the not-so-stereotypicalcharacters are easy for any of us to relate to, and their wittyconversations and quirky view of the world make this a surprisinglythought-provoking book.

" ... just think about the wayhigh-tech cultures purposefully protract out the adolescence of theiremployees well into their late 20s, if not their early 30s,"muses one programmer. "I mean, all those Nerf toys and freebeverages! And the way tech firms won't even call work 'the office,'but instead, 'the campus.'It's sick and evil." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (217)

5-0 out of 5 stars serendipitous
I picked the book up on sale at an overpriced, supposed hipster retail outlet, when they actually carried literature, a number of years back.

It was a book I related to very quickly, with me trying to rebuild my life from taking my studies a little too seriously.It was funny, enjoyable, and it made poignant comments on our society.Today, I find myself living in the bay area, watching documentaries-triumph of the nerds and nerds 2.0.1-that address, quite well, the geek revolution experienced in the book.John Doerr put a face on what a VC might look like, but he lacks the personality of Ethan. When I visit the South Bay I look for some concrete monolith that passes as the corporate headquarters for a tech company.

It was read it twice and loved both times.It's still one of my favorite books, and the emotions it stirred in me were nothing shallow or dismissive.It's surprising that a book that comes across so lightly can make such an impact.

Sadly, I gave it to a friend who had not read it last time I checked, probably because it doesn't fit on a beer can or a pack of cigarettes.

5-0 out of 5 stars intro to Web 1.0 Office culture
One of my all-time favorite books -- cleverly written and with humorous characters. If you're a geek and especially if you like Coupland, you should read this.

1-0 out of 5 stars the delivery was too long
The delivery was very far away from the purchase, the book is very geek and funny

3-0 out of 5 stars reads like a concept draft for J Pod
There are so many similarities between this novel and JPod that i have trouble believing JPod is anything but the Good Version of this story that Coupland didn't get around to writing until later. Microserfs even has a bunch of uncorrected errors: typos, missing words, formatting mishaps, etc.

The main characters are nearly identical, with their accidental girlfriend who thinks all geeks are just a little bit autistic, and their band of mildly freakish technophiles. And at least something happens in JPod; all Microserfs has is the decision about whether or not to leave MS, which happens fairly early in the book, and from then on it's just random occurrences.

Then there's the whole, 'this book is too light-hearted, lets put some sad stuff in' at the end. It all felt very tacked-on.

And, of course, the things that annoy me because i grew up on the area where most of the book takes place. Coupland goes to great pains to get minor accuracies, like the location of Molly Stone's or Fry's, then goes on to get other basic things wrong. La Cresta Drive is in Los Altos Hills, not Palo Alto (and it's not THE Los Altos Hills either). And the locals call it El Camino, not Camino Real.

Some of the impact of this book is surely lost on me, as i grew up in the Silicon Valley, so most of the cultural insights aren't insights to me. But JPod was superior in pretty much every way, so i'm not sure why anyone would bother reading Microserfs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Strickingly accurate, entertaining, and funny
In Microserfs, Douglas Coupland presents an eerily accurate snapshot ofmodern software development culture. A culture where quirkiness, nerf gun attacks, release parties, access to unlimited amounts of sugar laden beverages, all nighters, hard work, and spontaneous fun are all the norm.

This is a great book for those seeking an entertaining read, or those who are interested in what the life of a developer entails. As a software developer myself, this book is a great reminder that developing software is really about the people, team work, fun, and not usually the technology. ... Read more

9. Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 192 Pages (1991-03-15)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 031205436X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Generation X is a field guide to and for the vast generation born in the late 1950s and the 1960s--a generation that has been erroneously labelled "postponed" and "indifferent." This is facto-fiction about a wildly accelerating subculture waiting in the corridor. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (114)

5-0 out of 5 stars An enlighting social commentary
A "Cosmopolitan" blurb on the back of Douglas Coupland's "Generation X" describes it as, "A modern-day `Catcher in the Rye'."While I wouldn't quite go that far, Coupland does an excellent job of creating a modern existentialist narrative focused on the lives of a confused generation."Generation X:Tales for an Accelerated Culture" throws the reader through a sort of quasi-fictional journey following the lives of three 30-somethings looking to find a purpose within a culture that has abruptly come to lack any type of guidance for those coming of age.

Coupland inserts the reader onto the back patios of Dag, Claire, and Andy - Gen X archetypes caught in the lagging reality of post-collegiate adulthood.All three characters are all waiting for the single epiphany that will deliver them to the type of meaningful existence that they are searching for.Coupland captures the restlessness of Gen X and shows their collective quest for a life that provides the same sense of rigid direction awarded to generations past.The adventures of Dag, Clair, and Andy show detachment and disinterest but reveals the internal conflict present as the characters search for a greater meaning. "Generation X" is a narrative told through a series of narratives.Dag, Clair, and Andy each share various snippets of their lives that reveal aspects of their identity or tell stories which act as a metaphor for society at large.Collectively these narratives allow the reader to understand the angst of Gen X and provides a conceptualization of a generation bound together by the absence of formative cultural events.

"Generation X" is extremely readable and provides a level of insight that wouldn't be possible in another format.The margins of the book are filled with clever bumper stickers or definitions of slang terms idiomatic to Gen Xers.While the book is a novel and its certainly good at beingjust that, I think it's also a "must read" for anyoneinterested ingenerational studies or cultural commentary.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Bittersweet Side of 80s Culture
I bought and read this book in the 80s because everyone was talking about it.I fully expected to hate the book as I was already annoyed that Coupland had appropriated the title "Generation X" and introduced it to the realm of marketeers.The title "Generation X" was actually used in a study of British youth culture that was written at least 15 years before Coupland's book (if not more) and the term "Generation X" was then picked up by a punk band featuring a new teenage singer called Billy Idol, who went on to be a household word.So I had already been hearing the term "Generation X" bandied about for at least 5 years before Coupland got handed all kinds of credit for inventing and defining it.

Against all odds, I ended up liking the book.It's about a group of friends from various backgrounds and parts of the US who end up in Palm Springs.They work crumby jobs in their "veal fattening pens" (Coupland's term for office cubicle spaces); put up with annoying yuppie bosses; dress and decorate with elements appropriated from all recent eras of pop culture from the 40s onwards (for instance, one female character looks like Elvis and is nicknamed "Elvissa"); and while away their evenings drinking cocktails and telling each other wistful stories.While they are very typical of the early 80s I knew, to some degree their thoughts, feelings and behaviors are universal to every generation of young people straddling lives between suburban security and bohemian rhapsody, and wishing for something different, something more.Unlike the more dissolute and darker young characters that populate the novels of Coupland's 80s contemporaries, Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis, the people in "Generation X" are generally good-hearted, likable and believable.Given their fascination with stories, it only makes sense that they're also living one.

The margins of the book are cleverly decorated with drawings and definitions that clarify terms used by the author in the text, in a "user's manual" sort of way.Also, a number of the places mentioned in the book actually exist, or did at the time.I was driving through Palm Springs a few years later and passed the store with all the stuffed chickens in the window, looking just as decribed in the book. Naturally I had to slam on my brakes and take a photo of it.

5-0 out of 5 stars certainly groundbreaking, but what is it exactly?!?
'Generation X' is certainly an unusual read, and a masterful first novel by Douglas Coupland.Well in truth it really isn't much of a novel, just glimpses into the lives of young-ish slackers living in Palm Springs.Nothing much happens.But I suppose like some fine Japanese cuisine, it's not the content that matters so much but rather the presentation.The author stages his novel as some sort Generation X lifestyle handbook or bible.Most of the pages contain explanatory snippets on how this generation views life.Often hilarious but more often painfully true.

Bottom line: worthy of the hype.Strongly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book for deadheads or anyone...
Douglas Coupland is my favorite author and I think this book sums up his writing style very well. This book chronicles (fictional) experiences of a cross section of people who end up at Grateful Dead concerts. I personally am not a Deadhead, but Coupland's writing style so perfectly draws the reader in, and puts them in the place of the myriad of concert-goers. An interesting read for anyone who loves Coupland!

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
Being of the generation that inspired this book, I have always meant to read it and I finally did.

First off, let me say that the book isn't very long and it won't take much of your time to read.Because of that and the fact that this is a famous and often referenced book, it is worth the time to read.

The characters are self-righteous and they pretend to be so deep and caring about the world but they are really just afraid of failure and success.They are very whiney as I am and as are many of the same generation.Reading this made me think that "the world isn't perfect and never will be, but there is no sense in whining about everything".

As I said, it is worth the time to read.It may be a bit pessimistic at times, but that is part of its charm and it is written pretty well. ... Read more

10. Girlfriend in a Coma: A Novel (P.S.)
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 304 Pages (2008-11-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$3.52
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006162425X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

On a snowy Friday night in 1979, just hours after making love for the first time, Richard's girlfriend, high school senior Karen Ann McNeil, falls into a coma. Nine months later she gives birth to their daughter, Megan. As Karen sleeps through the next seventeen years, Richard and their circle of friends reside in an emotional purgatory, passing through a variety of careers—modeling, film special effects, medicine, demolition—before finally reuniting on a conspiracy-driven super-natural television series. But real life grows as surreal as their TV show as Richard and his friends await Karen's reawakening . . . and the subsequent apocalypse.

Amazon.com Review
In this latest novel from the poet laureate of Gen X--who ishimself now a dangerously mature 36--boy does indeed meet girl. Theyear is 1979, and the lovers get right down to business in a veryCouplandian bit of plein air intercourse: "Karen and Ideflowered each other atop Grouse Mountain, among the cedars beside aski slope, atop crystal snow shards beneath penlight stars. It was aDecember night so cold and clear that the air felt like the air of theMoon--lung-burning; mentholated and pure; hint of ozone, zinc, skiwax, and Karen's strawberry shampoo." Are we in for an archetypal'80s romance, played out against a pop-cultural backdrop? Nope. Onlyhours after losing her virginity, Karen loses consciousness aswell--for almost two decades. The narrator and his circle soldier on,making the slow progression from debauched Vancouver youths tosemiresponsible adults. Several end up working on a television seriesthat bears a suspicious resemblance to The X-Files (surely aself-referential wink on the author's part). And then ... Karen wakesup. Her astonishment--which suggests a 20th-century, substance-abusingRip Van Winkle--dominates the second half of the novel, and givesCoupland free reign to muse about time, identity, and the meaning (ifany) of the impending millennium. Alas, he also slaps a concludingapocalypse onto the novel. As sleeping sickness overwhelms thepopulace, the world ends with neither a bang nor a whimper, but auniversal yawn--which doesn't, fortunately, outweigh the sweetness,oddity, and ironic smarts of everything that has preceded it. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (179)

3-0 out of 5 stars It wasn't THAT bad.
Girlfriend in a Coma.... not something I'd usually pick up, but the title and description intrigued me, so I picked it up randomly one day.

The book starts off interesting and really grabs you but half way through the book when you fast forward to the "present" time, it starts to slow down... drag on even. And okay yes, it could probably put you to sleep.

The book is for the most part, narrated by Jared, a mutual friend of their group of friends who has already passed on. He seems to play a part in telling them "where to go from here". Karen falls into a coma after she loses her virginity to Richard. Way to make your boyfriend feel like he did something right! Karen ends up pregnant and having a child while still in a coma. Making Richard a pretty much, single father. The book fast forwards and updates you on what the circle of friends are up to, what Richard is up to and what their daughter (who's name I have completely forgotten) is up to.

One day, Karen comes back and suddenly, she can tell the future. The future that no one believes she's telling the truth about. Would you believe a girl who just woke up for a coma saying this and that is going to happen... soon? I think not! But Karen was right and all but her group of friends survive. Kinda odd, right?

I'm glad I stuck it out and forced myself to finish this book. The ending was well worth the slow and dragging half way point. The ending was both shocking and heartbreaking. And it provokes thinking! I enjoyed this book!

1-0 out of 5 stars Someone... please... help!!!!!
This has got to be the worst book I have ever read!!! OK I will admit me wasting my money was my fault because of the interesting cover (white with the barcode and title on each cover). But uuughh, if this isn't the worst book ever. It started off very well with the first 46 pages, then the book got stupider and stupider. The plot sounded interesting with the idea of a girl being in a coma for 18 years, but as the book went on, it became the reader that's in a coma. This is the first, and probably the last Coupland book I will ever read. Avoid.

1-0 out of 5 stars Possibly the worst book I have ever read
I read this for a book club and I am embarrassed to say I finished it.The writing is plain, too obvious, and juvenile.Even if I had been able to enjoy the plot, the writing made the reading experience painful.I do not recommend this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars odd little book
This book starts with a 17 year old girl (Karen) going into an unexplained coma the night that she loses her virginity to Richard in 1979.However, the night she goes into a coma she confides to Richard visons or dreams of the future that she doesn't believe she should be seeing.Just weeks after entering into the coma it's learned that she is pregnant.After giving birth while still in the coma to a healty baby girl, the narratation goes into the lives of Richard and his friends who seem to drift through their 20s.Karen awakes 20 years later to a world she doesn't really know how to react to and can't help getting the feeling that the end of the world is near (I won't give anymore away).The book is interesting enough, but doesn't always keep me reading, because I don't always care about the characters.The ending of the book was also a disappointment.Overall, the book is a quick read and does have its oddly funny moments and version of the appocalypse that makes you wonder.

2-0 out of 5 stars So close, and yet...
I really, really wanted to like this book...and it came so close to winning me over.Unfortuantely, the last quarter of the book falls apart so quickly and so badly, that it ruins whatever good experience I had with the first three quarters.

The story is really interesting, and a quick read, throughout most of the book.Then, once the Supernatural Twist occurs, it just goes downhill.From there, Coupland spends FOREVER getting to the end, and he just rambles for several chapters until he gets to the letdown that is the ending.That letdown could've come about five chapters earlier, too, since one of the characters actually warns of it...again and again and again."I've got something to tell these people", is what he essentially says, then spends five chapters getting around to saying it.

...And, when this "bombshell" is dropped, it's boring.Plenty of people on this site have given the ending away, so I won't do that.Suffice to say, it's simplistic, it's preachy, and it isn't remotely groundbreaking.In fact, it isn't even interesting.It's just pretentious, which is a shame because so much of the book was so interesting.

I really wanted to like this book, but it just spirals out of control near the end.It seemed thrown together, and ruined a book that would've easily gotten three or four stars from me had it not lost itself in the final act. ... Read more

11. Shampoo Planet
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 312 Pages (1993-05-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$1.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671755064
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Chronicles six months in the life of Tyler Johnson, an ambitious, conservative twenty year old who was raised in a hippie commune. By the author of Generation X. Reprint. PW. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (59)

3-0 out of 5 stars Some nice description but not much happening.
I read this book at the time it came out and can vouch for it being a pretty good, though slightly exaggerated, slice of early 1990's culture.Narrator Tyler, who is portrayed as being 20 in 1992, and his sister Daisy are pretty emblematic of the first hippie-raised generation to come of age.They drift through life without too many big worries of a personal nature, instead being concerned about more cosmic matters.Daisy and her boyfriend take roadtrips to participate in Greenpeace-type protests, while Tyler collects a table full of secondhand globes.Coupland preserves many of the styles and attitudes of the time and occasionally expresses them in beautifully descriptive language.The main problem is that the book, like the characters' lives, is pretty much pointless and plotless - everybody seems to just be drifting about, having fun and waiting to see where the next chapter takes them, without consciously planning or working any harder than necessary to get from point A to point B.This was the book that made me realize I had lost touch with popular culture - I enjoyed the beauty of Coupland's writings without feeling any sort of connection to his characters, whereas the characters in "Generation X" (which was more "my generation") seemed to be people I might actually know and party with.Now that 20-25 years have passed, I would be interested to see a follow-up showing where the folks in both books ended up.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in how young people lived and thought in the early 1990s.As I said, it's a bit of an exaggerated satire, but is close enough to the truth to give you the flavor of the era of Jello dreads, Nirvana, and hackey sacks.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wash them clean
Douglas Coupland made his biggest mark on literature with "Generation X," a witty satire on the jaded "Gen-Xers." This time, we have one instead of several, but Coupland's writing might be even tighter because of that. Witty, unpredictable and full of Coupland's little flickers of bitterness and sweetness.

Things start to go awry when ex-hippie Jasmice wakes up with "divorce" written on her forehead. Ambitious twenty-year-old Tyler is a living anti-hippie, devoted to hair-care, sleek technology and big corporations. He considers Jasmine the living figure of sixties idiocy, but he consoles his mother about her rotten husband's departure.

As he comforts Jasmine, he contemplates his own life, his sweet girlfriend Anna Louise, and his oddball family, which was based in a weird hippie commune when he was little. Things in Tyler's life are disrupted when the haughty Stephanie, a summer fling, comes to visit -- and stay. Tyler travels with his fling-turned-new-girlfriend to California, but finds himself more alone than he has ever been before.

In this book, Coupland takes a look at a small group of people -- young, intelligent college graduates who aren't sure whether to follow their dreams, or chain themselves to a big corporation. Don't worry -- it's not half as boring as it sounds. Coupland keeps the book vibrant with snotty Europeans, scraggly ex-hippies and the offspring they drive crazy.

Theme aside, Coupland has a way of tugging at the heartstrings, without becoming really sentimental, and reminds us that "the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself." His writing is sharp, solid and strangely evocative of a split world: half sand candles and flowers, half leather furniture and big-screen TVs. And he has a unique sense of humor -- he doesn't make readers really laugh, but just exposes the absurd side of things.

Tyler starts off superficial and rather snotty, and he spends much of the book doing the wrong thing. But Coupland makes him grow up slowly, making him see the worth of people he thought were freakish before. Not to mention his long-suffering girlfriend Anna Louise, who is obviously The Girl for Tyler. Jasmine is a very real portrait of an aging hippie -- full of life and sweetness, yet incredibly naive.

Douglas Coupland's "Shampoo Planet" tackles some of the same turf as "Generation X," yet it gets more intimate and sweet than his first novel did. Remember -- what's on top of your head does not say what's inside your head.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read for us 20-somethings
I found this book to be completely hilarious.Probably because I was able to relate to the madness.This book simply solidified my love for Coupland.

If you want a summary and an in depth review of the book line by line - read a different review.I'm only here to recommend the book.

Read it.If you're between the ages of 18-30 ... you'll probably appreciate it as much as I did.

3-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but not a classic
I would put "Shampoo Planet" in the same category as Wells' "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" and Flagg's "Fried green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe". A light story that is easy and quick to read and interesting enough that you will want to finish the book.

I don't think this book will stand up well to the test of time. It does not have the timeless story or character development of the classics. The cham of "Shampoo Planet" is based mainly on cultural references to the comsumerism obsessed America of the early 1990's. It is probably only interesting for those who lived in that time or who want a little slice of life about that time. I don't think teachers will have their students read it in 100 years time as an example of great late 20th century liturature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Witty, Humorous, and Fun!
Douglas Coupland definitely has an amazing way with words and a knowledge of the conundrum felt by those in their late teens and early twenties.Parents simply don't understand.How could they?They are from a different era.A simpler era.What do they know of the current zeitgeist?Such is the thought process of so many youngsters trying to find their place and discover their purpose in a world overwrought with technology and consumerism.Thus, such are the thought processes of Tyler and his odd array of peers in this amazing novel.Can Tyler and his mother find some way to work out their differences, and is there some lesson to be learned from a washed up hippie?

Shampoo Planet begins with Tyler's mother, Jasmine, waking up to find the word "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" written across her forehead.From this point forth, Jasmine and Tyler both set sail on a roller coaster ride of self-discovery, seeking to reclaim their self-worth from a new perspective.From the small, cozy town of Lancaster, Washington, in which many suffer from the closing of "the Plants," Tyler branches out seeking what else life has to offer.Using his ambition as his fuel, Tyler aims towards escape from the mundane.

We learn of Tyler's trip to Europe, during which he met an opportunistic French girl named Stephanie, and from whom he will learn to appreciate the past.Once Tyler returns home, we are introduced to his sister Daisy, who seems eager to escape the present by living vicariously with her boyfriend through her mother's days as a hippie.Tyler's now-ex-step-father, Dan, would rather create false realities than face his true existence.Tyler's grandparents have lost their money and are trying desperately to regain their societal stature by becoming involved in a pyramid scheme.We also learn of Tyler's post-feminist girlfriend, Anna-Louise, whose aim is to help Tyler get through college and achieve his dream of becoming a big-wig for a large corporation, and whom Tyler seems unwilling or incapable of acknowledging the fact that she has an eating disorder.

Tyler later reconnects with his summer fling, Stephanie, who, after stirring up controversy between Anna-Louise and Tyler, convinces him to venture to California in attempt to "make it big" as a photographer.On the way south, Tyler pays an uncomfortable visit to his estranged biological father.Once in Hollywood, Tyler realizes that the "good life" isn't easily handed to you on a silver platter.

Though Tyler and his friends are living in a time of modernity and seemingly shallow introversion, where "what's on top of your head says what's inside your head," there is really more to them than meets the eye.Disillusioned by magazines and television into believing a romanticized version of the future exists, one in which people really do get what they want and are actually happy with mere material possessions, Tyler clearly has a lot to learn.

Coupland's writing is chock full of witty banter and intelligent, humorous analogies that make for a highly entertaining read for those of any generation.The cast of well-rounded, realistic characters is simply unforgettable.Coupland has several good points to get across and he knows how to do so in a way that is easily accessible, extremely fun, and profoundly lighthearted.This is definitely not the last Coupland book I will pick up.Very highly recommended!

"Clean hair; clean body; clean mind; clean life.You could become famous at any moment and your whole personal history could be unearthed.And then what would they find?Turn on the shower" (Coupland, 133). ... Read more

12. Darwin's Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow
Paperback: 416 Pages (2010-04-27)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1553654927
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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These 23 stories take us on a twisted fun ride into some future times and parallel universes where characters as diverse as a one-legged International Actuarial Forensics specialist, a pharmaceutical guinea pig, and a far-sighted fetus engage in their own games of the survival of the fittest. From a new short story by William Gibson in which a teen disassociated from his body haunts his neighborhood through the decades, to Douglas Coupland’s balls-out satire of a slightly futuristic Survivor, to Sheila Heti's meditative romp about beleaguered physicists and Oracle of Delphi-like Blackberrys, Darwin’s Bastards is a fast-moving, thought-provoking reading extravaganza.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars The future with a Canadian twist
What if fame was illegal?What if your Blackberry could predict the future?What if someone figured out how to clone Jesus?The best contemporary Canadian writers attempt to answer these questions in the new short story anthology, //Darwin's Bastards//.Edited by Zsuzsi Gartner, this collection of speculative and science fiction is as diverse as its authors, which include Douglas Coupland, Mark Anthony Jarman, and Yann Martel.
The more lyrically written selections tend to be hard to follow.Thankfully, there are enough exciting or scathingly witty stories to make up for it, the best of which reference current cultural or political issues.

In "Sunshine City," for instance, Timothy Taylor envisions a future where all of society has become a network of luxurious gated communities, complete with golf courses. "Large Garbage" by Buffy Cram hypothesizes the fate of an intellectual middle class in our current economic crisis: clans of highly intelligent homeless people holding grand salons in empty McMansions across the countryside. The best of the group, "1999" by Pasha Malla, imagines the aftermath of Armageddon in the year 2000, when Prince is the only man alive.||S.F. fans and literary scenesters alike will find much to celebrate in //Darwin's Bastards//.

Reviewed by Katie Cappello

4-0 out of 5 stars Review
The opening story intrigued me as I read about a child wondering why some mutations are successful while others aren't?What parent hasn't had to have that conversation at one point with their curious little one? For me, while the first couple of pages grabbed my attention, all the footnotes and references in the first chapter were a bit of a drag.This thankfully changed as we moved on to the next chapter which became more fluid.

This book is a great read.I did find however, that once I put it down, I really had to be in a thoughtful, pensive mood in order to pick it up and enjoy it again. It's not a read that you can mindlessly enjoy, although at times this can be a good thing.

The book is described as being "An exploration of future times, ... acollection of social attire, fabulist tales and irreverent dystopian visions of the day after tomorrow."And let me tell you, it does not disappoint.Every aspect of social life is discussed in this book, from the rise of reality tv to the feelings that if we don't have our blackberries attached to our ears, the world will end. While some of the book really describes how humanity is going down the tubes, it backs up the claims and doesn't make the reader feel as if they are the cause for the end of civilization as we know it. The writers of these 23 short stories did a great job in really expressing their views without sounding elitist or "holier than though."That's difficult when writing a book on what is going wrong with humanity.

My feelings are if you are looking for something intellectual, that will really get you thinking about how humanity has and will develop (or break down), this book is for you.And while some of these stories are funny and really out there, they really help to open up an intelligent dialogue when speaking about social issues. ... Read more

13. JPod: A Novel
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 464 Pages (2007-05-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$4.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596911050
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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JPod, Douglas Coupland's most acclaimed novel to date, is a lethal joyride into today's new breed of tech worker. Ethan Jarlewski and five co-workers whose surnames begin with Â"JÂ" are bureaucratically marooned in jPod, a no-escape architectural limbo on the fringes of a massive Vancouver game design company. The jPodders wage daily battle against the demands of a boneheaded marketing staff, who daily torture employees with idiotic changes to already idiotic games. Meanwhile, Ethan's personal life is shaped (or twisted) by phenomena as disparate as Hollywood, marijuana grow-ops, people-smuggling, ballroom dancing, and the rise of China. JPod's universe is amoral, shameless, and dizzyingly fast-paced like our own. 
Amazon.com Review
Already dubbed Microserfs 2.0 by some pundits--a winking allusion to Douglas Coupland's previous novel Microserfs, which similarly chronicled pop-culture-damaged twentysomething misfits flailing, foundering, and occasionally succeeding in the high-tech sector--JPod is, like all of Coupland's novels, a byproduct of its era and yet strangely detached from it. Only this time with a bold and very crafty narrative device: Douglas Coupland, novelist, is a character in Douglas Coupland's novel. Which, when you think about it, makes sense since the type of people Coupland depicts are precisely the type of people who consume Coupland novels. As the once-great comedian Dennis Miller might holler, "Stop him before he sub-references again!" Readers familiar with Coupland's oeuvre know what to expect with the characterizations here. They also know that Coupland on a roll is both savagely observant and laugh-out-loud funny: "Bree was showing someone photos of her recent holiday visiting Korean animation sweathshops. She was bummed because she couldn't get into North Korea: too much legal juju. [She said] 'I just wanted to know what it's like to be in a society with no technology except for three dial telephones and a TV camera they won from Fidel Castro in a game of rock paper scissors.'" Much of the book is like that, built on granular and meandering exchanges between characters about . . . stuff. While JPod's flow is hobbled by some preposterous twists and character traits and by random words, phrases, and numbers splattered gratuitously across successive pages in oversized typeface, it's hard to imagine Coupland fans walking away disappointed. --Kim Hughes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (87)

1-0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition is full of tyos
This ebook is very badly produced. I have bookmarks of 81 typos (I gave up noting them after a while) and spelling mistakes; it reads as though it has been very badly scanned through an OCR reader. For example, dozens of times throughout the text, "turtle" is mispelled as "turde"; this effects other words with the "tle" ending, so I've seen "botde", "boodeg", "throtde", and "litde", amongst others.

Exclamation marks in italic typeface are almost always typset as a "}" character; there are numerous examples of this (Douglas Coupland's fascination with italic typefaces is another issue altogether and one I don't hold you responsible for). There are many cases were words are concatendatedtogetherlikethis, presumably because a line ending has been lost. There is a scanned image in the text which includes the paperback version's footer, with page number and author's name. Numerals and ASCII characters replace text ("citi2ens", "J°Im").

Sometimes they all come at once, such as location 3542: "You know the one -- the Tm kooky' tie with litde penguins wearing sunglasses on it". These errors are very frequent, very distracting, and make the book extremely hard to read.

1-0 out of 5 stars Slightly interesting premise... falls flat after that
I was given this book as a gift, so I forced myself to slog through this book, hoping there would be some light at the end of this brick. From a slightly interesting premise of a quirky group of software developers, this book spirals downward quickly into a bizarrely unintelligible plot, many waste-of-space diversions that seem to just be there to make the book look thicker, laughable attempts at sounding twentysomething ("I'm going to download some jifs") -- and the key indicator that Coupland has truly jumped the shark -- writing himself into his own story. Poorly.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dot-Conned
Some of you may remember Tracy Kidder and his 1981 benchmark look inside the still-budding computer industry, "The Soul of a New Machine", a serious and, while not without drama and even some suspense, mostly sterile tale of the long-defunct Data General Corp and the development of it's MV/8000 mini-computer.It was geeky - wonky to some - but it did shed some light on the cloistered lives and anything-but-mainstream culture of the engineers and scientists toiling unimaginable hours while chasing the tech Holy Grail of "the next great thing."

Fast forward a quarter century.We've warped through successive revolutions of Kidder's mini-mainframes, Personal Computers, networked computing, and the Internet, and now have finally arrived:Douglas Coupland and "JPod", possibly the wackiest, zaniest and, for some, most enjoyable peak inside the cube farms that crank out the code the builds the technology we love and love to hate.To say Coupland is unconventional is like saying Bill Gates could use a better haircut: "JPod" follows no rules of plot, format, logic, or common sense (unless you typically read books that devote 20 pages to 58,000 randomly generated numbers).Wherein lays the magic.Coupland's irreverence and literary anarchy are as much apart of the tale as the half-dozen denizens who inhabit the jPod, a closet of cubes in a large Vancouver video game development company.If there is a central story between random insertions of Dorito's nutritional labeling and lists like all of the 972 three-letter words allowed in Scrabble, it is the development of a new skateboarding game, and the trials and travails faced by the intrepid jPodders as they try to navigate their game through successive waves of clueless executives.And navigate around Coupland himself, who inserts himself in the novel in much more than a simple cameo spot.

I loved it - laughed out loud while clipping bits of Coupland's dubious wisdom.Alas, he did reach his jumping-the-shark moment with an overdose of podder parents who stretched parody way too far into incredulity before the final opGrow bud was harvested.I also wonder how broad the audience for his material.Kidder's classic unveiled the mystery of computer development to the masses like Carter opening Tutankhamen's tomb.But Coupland's "JPod" is so steeped in the hieroglyphics of the gaming-geek subculture, I wonder how any not familiar with "Silicon Valley" (yes, even in Vancouver) will be able to detect the irony within the fact within the just plain silly.

So there it is - Douglas Coupland as Dilbert's evil twin or Larry Ellison's alter ego.A guy who watches way too much "Family Guy".Love it or hate it, "JPod" is clearly one of the most brilliantly warped diatribes of technology farming that you'll ever read.Just don't tell Tracy Kidder.

1-0 out of 5 stars Book is mediocre, but Kindle edition is terrible
This is my first Coupland novel.I may read more of his work, or I may not.

The Kindle edition is barely readable.It appears that it was scanned in, and not proofread at all.Common OCR errors abound (missing spaces, etc).One of the most annoying and reliably recurring errors is the replacement of "tl" with "d".In most books, this would occur only occasionally.However, one of the plot lines is a manager insisting on including a turtle in a skateboarding game the protagonist is helping develop.So the "turtle" becomes, somewhat comically, a "turde."

This kind of lack of attention to electronic editions is will kill paid-for ebooks.

1-0 out of 5 stars Ugh
I really can't stand this book.

This is my first encounter with Coupland and I have to say it could not have been a more negative experience.

The self-references are insanely narcissistic. His characters are a collection of modern personality quirks complied haphazardly into "people." They are neither funny nor believable, just annoying. Even the title itself, J-Pod, is smug. I'd imagine Coupland concocted the title before the plot leading to its pointless nature.

I get the feeling Coupland thinks this book is much more clever than it actually is. Do not bother with it. ... Read more

14. Marshall McLuhan
by Douglas Coupland
Hardcover: 260 Pages (2010-01)
list price: US$26.00
Isbn: 0670069221
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15. Player One: What Is to Become of Us (CBC Massey Lecture)
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 256 Pages (2010-10-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0887849687
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

International bestselling author Douglas Coupland delivers a real-time, five-hour story set in an airport cocktail lounge during a global disaster. Five disparate people are trapped inside: Karen, a single mother waiting for her online date; Rick, the down-on-his-luck airport lounge bartender; Luke, a pastor on the run; Rachel, a cool Hitchcock blonde incapable of true human contact; and finally a mysterious voice known as Player One. Slowly, each reveals the truth about themselves while the world as they know it comes to an end.
In the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut and J. G. Ballard, Coupland explores the modern crises of time, human identity, society, religion, and the afterlife. The book asks as many questions as it answers, and readers will leave the story with no doubt that we are in a new phase of existence as a species — and that there is no turning back.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Average at best
When I first purchased this book, I was expecting a better story which would display humanity's struggle when faced with tragedy and death. What I ended up getting is Coupland's opinion about mostly God and love through 4 characters which represent the 0.0000001% percent of the population. While interesting, not many people could relate to the character's in this story, a robotic woman that is beautiful, in reality, for what she is looking for, she wouldn't have to go to a run down lounge to find a man. A sexy mom wouldn't have to go online to find someone, a runaway pastor with $20,000 in his pockets, how would he ever get on a plane? The character's were not realistic enough to have on impact on me.
Furthermore, the tragedy that occurs is highly unrealistic. The commodity in question will not run out anytime soon, and it will be replaced by other methods long before it does.
The writing was also very difficult to follow, going back and forth through each person's viewpoint got tiresome with many unrelated details that the book could do without.
All in all this was a disapointing read, that is why this book only gets 3 stars. And that is stretching it.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Precarious Nature of Humans
Coupland examines our fragility through the insecurities and foibles of individuals and sets Player One against a chilling apocalyptic backdrop. The book provides two avenues that run in parallel and crisscross over a very short and frightening period of time. But what makes it so readable are the characters. Though largely implausible and far too articulate, Coupland provides us with engaging personalities that we cannot help but connect with.

These include Karen, the single mom from Winnipeg, who flies across the country to eradicate loneliness, "Karen feels as if her life is a real story, not just a string of events entered into a daybook - false linearity imposed on chaos as we humans try to make sense of our iffy situation here on earth." And her observation that. "A man walks into a bookstore and looks up books on loneliness, and every woman in the store hits on him. A woman looks for books on loneliness, and the store clears out" is an insight both humorous and sad.

Luke, the disgraced pastor, "has decided that, although he is a failure, failure is authentic, and because it's authentic, it's real and genuine". Luke also believes that the Seven Deadly Sins need to be updated to perhaps include: " the willingness to tolerate information overload; the neglect of the maintenance of democracy; the deliberate ignorance of history; the equating of shopping with creativity; the rejection of reflective thinking; the belief that spectacle is reality; vicariously living though celebrities." This is Coupland at his best when he beats up pop culture and its `dumbing down' of society.

And then there is Rachel, though plagued by a laundry list of autistic and other challenges, she portrays a humanity that is clinically inviting. Her bewilderment in a world of "neurotypicals" is not unlike anyone's discomfort except she has been duly labeled.

Coupland throws these and other characters together into a terrifying scenario over a period of five hours. In that time they are forced to survive, adapt, reveal their inner fears, question engrained beliefs, and rely on each broken and searching self for answers. They each bring their own "iffy situations" to one very large one and the results are fascinating.

5-0 out of 5 stars Douglas Coupland's Greatest Hits
PLAYER ONE is Doug's response to his invitation to present the prestigious 2010 Massey Lectures in Canada.Instead of a series of lectures, he's written a new book which sums up his philosophy of life, relationships, human behavior, and our place in the universe.It reads as "Doug's Greatest Hits," with Easter Egg phrases, thoughts and ideas that echo the best parts of his copious outpouring of fiction in the last 20yrs.Every page is choc full of the aphorisms, zingers, bumper stickers and fortune cookies that are uniquely Doug's voice and observations.Each one of the characters made me say "that's ME he's writing about!"Life-long Coupland fans will want to develop a drinking game around this book, awarding themselves points for every time they recognize "Doug's Law" on the page.New readers: PLAYER ONE is a perfect introduction to Life According to Douglas Coupland. Enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars Coupland is back with the ultimate commentary on who we are
An airport cocktail lounge becomes an unlikely bunker when disaster strikes, trapping four people who have each embarked on new paths in life -- one is looking for love, another for proof of her humanity, a third for escape from a crime, and the last for a second chance at success -- along with a peculiar presence called Player One that knows what is going to happen over the next few hours. The uncertainty for the future brings them together, as they try to define (or redefine) themselves in a new world.

After two underwhelming efforts in //The Gum Thief// and //Generation A//, Coupland makes a tremendous return to form with //Player One//, an exploration of how we relate to others and our world. The characters are rich and interesting, and Coupland gives each of them a chance to shine in every "hour" (chapter).||No one takes you inside someone's thoughts more convincingly than Coupland, with all the inanity, the anxiety, the random facts and fixations. Amidst strange situations, implausible circumstances, and a possible apocalypse, it's those genuine glimpses beyond the veil that keep you hooked. Welcome back, Coupland.

Reviewed by Glenn Dallas ... Read more

16. Terry
by Douglas Coupland
 Hardcover: Pages (2005-10)

Isbn: 1553650867
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In 1980, Terry Fox set out to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research — despite having lost one leg to the disease. His goal was to raise $1 from every Canadian to help find a cure, and some combination of passion, idealism, and sheer guts led to the impossible notion that he would do this on one good leg and a prosthesis. Beginning in Newfoundland on April 12, 1980, he ran 26 miles each day for 143 consecutive days. But on September 1, the return of his cancer forced him to stop in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He died ten months later, but by then his dream had been realized: over $24 million had been collected in his name. Created to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of his journey, this biography combines over 80 new photographs from a previously unknown family collection with a very personal episodic narrative. The result brings a magic moment in Canadian history, and the young man who inspired it, freshly alive.

All royalties from the book will be donated to the Terry Fox Foundation to support cancer research. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Terry's life in pictures
This wonderful book is a must-have, I'm so glad I bought it.The pictures go through every aspect of Terry's life, from when he was a kid in school playing in sports teams, up until his funeral, which was very sad.My favorite parts of the book are the pages from his training and marathon diaries.I find myself constantly looking through this book.There's something about this book that draws me in.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Intimate Illustration of Terry Fox
This book gives a close look at Terry Fox, his life, and his humanity.It shows his accomplishments as a wheelchair basketball athlete and gives a peek at two pages of his diary.It shows what it was like to be with Terry during his Marathon of Hope, right down to the sunburn on the left side of his freckled face.It is a treasure of intimacy, the best thing next to have known Terry in this life.I was very pleased with this look at life with the Foxes and how really down-to-earth they are.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great, interesting read, that is poignant too...
I was initially given this book as a gift, knew nothing about it, but loved it.It's a great, well put together coffee table book, about an inspiring Canadian role model.As a Canadian export living in the States, it made me nostalgic for Terry Fox Runs from the past :).Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Scrap Book Terry Never Made
Terry Fox was the Hero that Canada always needed. He was also the hero that we lost way too quickly. As I held this book in my hand and looked at his wonderful 1970's snapshoots and cringed at the page with his personal handwriting.

Although I have a love/hate relationship with Douglas Coupland
work he clearly understands Canada and it's need for heros and shows a private side of Terry Fox the man.

Since Terry Fox has already won a place in the hearts of Canada maybe the world should know more about the story of the young man who used every cell in his body to fight the disease that was cuting his life way too shot.

Douglas Coupland tells us the story of Canada's hero and it a story the world needs to know with detail that we about our modern anti-heros like Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. ... Read more

17. The Gum Thief: A Novel
by Douglas Coupland
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2007-10-02)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$4.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596911069
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

The first and only story of love and looming apocalypse set in the aisles of an office supply superstore.  
In Douglas Coupland's ingenious new novelÂ--sort of a Clerks meets Who's Afraid of Virginia WoolfÂ--we meet Roger, a divorced, middle-aged Â"aisles associateÂ" at Staples, condemned to restocking reams of 20-lb. bond paper for the rest of his life. And Roger's co-worker Bethany, in her early twenties and at the end of her Goth phase, who is looking at fifty more years of sorting the red pens from the blue in aisle 6.
One day, Bethany discovers Roger's notebook in the staff room. When she opens it up, she discovers that this old guy she's never considered as quite human is writing mock diary entries pretending to be her: and, spookily, he is getting her right.

These two retail workers then strike up an extraordinary epistolary relationship. Watch as their lives unfold alongside Roger's work-in-progress, the oddly titled Glove Pond, a Cheever-era novella gone horribly, horribly wrong. Through a complex layering of narratives, The Gum Thief reveals the comedy, loneliness, and strange comforts of contemporary life.
Coupland electrifies us on every page of this witty, wise, and unforgettable novel. Love, death and eternal friendship can all transpire where we least expect them Â…and even after tragedy seems to have wiped your human slate clean, stories can slowly rebuild you.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

4-0 out of 5 stars More Coupland being Coupland
Douglas Coupland's previous effort had me wondering if the spark was gone from his writing, but I was wrong. The Gum Thief has the elements I like best about Microserfs and Generation X: populated with characters you recognize from day to day life and told in a unconventional yet comprehensible way.

An excellent choice for commuters. You can start on Monday and be finished by Friday, just reading on the commutes alone.

4-0 out of 5 stars Metafiction in an office-supply superstore
Douglas Coupland of 'Generation X' fame can be relied on to create disgruntled, misanthropic lead characters with a bit of heart and soul that allows the reader to love them nonetheless, because they see a little of their flawed selves in these characters.

Coupland does just that in this novel. The storyline revolves around a girl, Bethany, who discovers that her middle-aged colleague in an office-supply superstore, Roger, has been writing mock diary entries about her. More incredulous is the ensuing correspondence that ensues between them, while they pretend they are invisible to each other at work. As loopy as it sounds, the novel works, amazingly.

The structure of the novel is interesting, because it is made up of diary entries, correspondences and a work-in-progress novel by Roger. Dealing with metafiction can be a dangerous exercise for any author because it means you are drawing attention to your work as fiction, and being intentionally self-conscious about its relation to reality. When an author allows his character to write a novel, he needs to make sure it sounds convincing as the character's work, rather than the author's - very tricky business. The reader detects some tongue-in-cheek smugness when a creative writing instructor comments on Roger's work and comments that "a truly good author creates a novel so true it loses the voice of its individual author".

Thankfully, Coupland succeeds somewhat, in having Roger, a disillusioned middle-aged store associate (who is light years older than his college-aged colleagues)imitate unsuccessfully a Cheever-era domestic siting room drama.

What is captivating about this book is how successful Coupland manages to capture failure, a very self-reflexive venture that can overwhelm a less-confident writer. In the correspondence between Roger and his goth-maiden wannabe colleague, Bethany, Coupland manages to capture the distinction between the two voices and personalities.

5-0 out of 5 stars one of my Coupland favorites
Compared to some other Coupland novels, the main characters are very like able and the ending is much more satisfying than his usual. Hey Nostradamus! is my favorite of Coupland's books but The Gum Theif is a close second. It's funny yet sincere. I think Coupland deals with his usual themes very well in this novel.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad.
Douglas Coupland gets extra points for The Gum Thief since I so disliked JPod. He lost some of the snarky pop culture gloss that he put on in that book, and is back to his oft-told theme of life as beautiful and sad.

My husband is the true Coupland fan, I just tend to read along with him. It may not be as highly rated as my favorites: Microserfs, Generation X. Still, I'd put this alongside Eleanor Rigby as a good entry in the Coupland B tier. I enjoyed it. I was moved. He did a good job with the mindlessness of retail work.

If you're a Coupland fan, then you'll know whether you enjoy his work more for the pop culture (not the book for you, probably) or his character work (you won't be too disappointed). Choose wisely regarding The Gum Thief.

2-0 out of 5 stars Coupland over the top
Uber-meta-book about writing and authors including a postmodern Droste (mise en abîme) effect which caused me to *sigh* at times. ... Read more

18. City of Glass: Doug Coupland's Vancouver
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 152 Pages (2003-04)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$73.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1550548182
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Eclectic and provocative, this book, designed to resemble a Japanese underground zine, looks at Vancouver from inside out, from the Grouse Grind to the shimmering glass towers, First Nations to feng-shui. Douglas Coupland takes on monster houses, weather, Sandra Bernhard, Love Boats, SkyTrain, fleece, that endless rivalry with Seattle, and even includes a short story about living in a low-rent Granville hotel. Over 100 archival photographs, maps, and "beauty shots" add to the fun in this witty survey by the noted chronicler of alternative culture. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Another Tourist Guide
The weakness of traditional tourist or travel guides is that they're good at providing practical information but relatively weak on helping you understand the essence of a place.The things that make a place special or unique do not translate easily to an itinerary of museums and historical sites.

This book provides one person's well-considered views on things, people and events - some everyday and some profound - that make Vancouver the special place it is.Any given reader, and certainly some natives of the city may not agree with everything.You will come away with an interesting perspective on this very wonderful city.

The book's primary weakness is that it needs to be updated, particularly now that the Olympics have rolled over and through Vancouver but there was a strong argument for a new visit even before that just on the basis of the book being more than ten years old.

5-0 out of 5 stars Surreal and Fantastic
A humorous, personal portrait of a gorgeous and quirky city. Coupland's narration is funny and dead on. The photos are generally quite good and go a long way toward capturing the mood of the place. He also plugs a lot of little known facts -- like about Greenpeace -- that Yankies like myself were not aware of.

I hope he does a follow up book.

5-0 out of 5 stars great book to read and know more about Vancouver
Vancouver is great city (at least for a few dry months) and deserve a good book for the visitors. This book meets my needs and is not the typical guide book with maps and names and addresses. But for those who try to get a sense of the pulse of the city, it's character and quirks, I would recommend.

After reading others', suspect that my copy (recently bought) has the insert that others don't. "My Hotel Year" was a wonderful read, and for those who remember the 60's bohemian Haight Ashbury, there is an echo DC evoked at the human level here that still resonates. "Van" is "San Fran" was, with more flowers and no jobs, at least the kinds you can build wealth. Ob-La-Di! Ob-La-Da!

2-0 out of 5 stars Empty Windows
I've lived in Vancouver for two years and visited it regularly for several years previously.I bought this book when I was still new to the city, hoping for a companion to the city with at least a little bit of content.I was attracted by the title and cover art, as I like the glassy Vancouver skyline and thought maybe the author appreciates the same things about the atmosphere of Vancouver that I do.

Unfortunately, this is one of those books where the amount of content fit for an article in, say, the Georgia Straight or the Seattle Weekly, is blown up to the size (and price) of a book.The pages are mostly white space, with one or two paragraphs of large text in the middle that touch very briefly and vaguely upon some random topic, as if the author jotted this all down one night and didn't put much thought into it.

The book also contains photographs which, rather than being an insider's look at Vancouver, could be photographs of any city out of any tourist magazine--the typical closeups of food on a plate at a nameless restaurant, or a house that could exist anywhere in North America.

Because the text of this book is the length of an article, only blown up to look like a book, you could walk into a bookstore or library and read it pretty quickly (five or ten minutes).The only reason to purchase it would be if you absolutely must own every single book by Douglas Coupland, or every single book about Vancouver.

I learned nothing from this book that I didn't already know about Vancouver after visiting it a few times, and it left me wanting to read a book about Vancouver that might tell me something I don't know.

4-0 out of 5 stars A love ode to Vancouver
Sure, it's only one person's view of Vancouver. But at least it's Douglas Coupland's view. In "City of Glass," the author of "All Families Are Psychotic" and "Generation X" strays from fiction to write about his home city. The result is a subdued love ode to Vancouver, peppered with photographs.

Coupland describes Vancouver with many page-long vignettes, sort of like a patchwork quilt: he describes feng shui in Vancouver, Japanese teenagers, a harbour full of sulfur piles, American couples on "love boats," monstrous houses, and the quiet detachment that Vancouver feels from the Rest of Canada. (Which has its own entry -- really!)

Coupland's fiction is generally distinguishable for its contemplative, cynically witty tones. But he drops all that for "City of Glass." Okay, there is a chunk of "Life After God" in the middle, blurry text and pics. And occasionally the transcripts of Coupland's memories remind one of his fiction, seeming sadder and darker.

Most of the time, he sounds fond and reminiscent, as if reliving the memories that come with salmon and fleece. Not to mention funny, such as when describing the confusing disagreements about feng shui (" this space should flowwwwww" or "flow is to be avoided at all costs"). And the photographs are quite good as well, with Coupland taking pictures of the prosaic subjects of his book -- a sleepy-looking Japanese teen, a fleece vest, a boat floating out on a light-filled harbor, a skiier in mid-twist on a sunlit hillside.

"City of Glass" isn't exactly going to make you race to Vancouver, but it will make you appreciate the little hidden facets of the city -- and perhaps make you notice the ones in your own. ... Read more

19. Polaroids from the Dead
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 208 Pages (1997-10-29)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$2.14
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060987219
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Douglas Coupland takes his sparkling literary talent in a new direction with this crackling collection of takes on life and death in North America -- from his sweeping portrait of Grateful Dead culture to the deaths of Kurt Cobain, Marilyn Monroe and the middle class.

For years, Coupland's razor-sharp insights into what it means to be human in an age of technology have garnered the highest praise from fans and critics alike.At last, Coupland has assembled a wide variety of stories and personal "postcards" about pivotal people and places that have defined our modern lives.Polaroids from the Dead  is a skillful combination of stories, fact and fiction -- keen outtakes on life in the late 20th century, exploring the recent past and a society obsessed with celebrity, crime and death.Princess Diana, Nicole Brown Simpson and Madonna are but some of the people scrutinized.Amazon.com Review
A collection of essays by Douglas Coupland, whose first novelGeneration Xreceived critical acclaim. In his mid-30s, Coupland writes about whatit means to grow up and the realization that he is not younganymore. Essays include observations on parents his age at GratefulDead concerts who seem intent on preserving a youthful reckless andcarefree lifestyle at the expense of their children, to the"gristled leather bachelors" and "straw-permed sexandroids from Planet 1971," to mourning his own sense ofyouthfulness as he revisits old haunts in his native Vancouver. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Take a picture
Skeleton fairy tales. Deadheads. Youths who hang around cemetaries. Marilyn Monroe. Fires. All these crop up in Douglas Coupland's atmospheric collection of essays and short stories, "Polaroids From the Dead," topped by the picture of a curiously blank-faced Sharon Tate.

Coupland populates "Polaroids" with people who contemplate the past, and how it fringes on the present: mothers telling their children parables, an older woman revelling in a Dead concert, a younger group observing aging hippies. And he himself is in quite a bit of it. There are essays on Brentwood (the site of Marilyn Monroe's mysterious death), a trip to Germany post-Berlin Wall, a letter to late rocker Kurt Cobain, descriptions of Palo Alto, and musings on the human preoccupations with crime, celebrities, fame, aging, death, and dead celebrities.

"Polaroids From The Dead" seems like an apt title for this book. Each short story isn't really a story. There's no true beginning and no end. It's just a snippet that shows the outlook and some of the life of the people in it, and their thoughts. While this type of writing is very vivid while you're actually reading it, it makes the characters difficult to remember later. Likewise, the essays show one of the facets of Coupland's outlook. It's pensive, a little sad at times, and at other times just provokes your thoughts and makes you wonder.

Likewise, the black-and-white photographs sprinkled through the book are curiously intimate; some of them (like a burning stick of dynamite) don't make sense until you're partway through the story. OJ and Nicole, models of T-Rexes, the Vietnam monument, flowers and skeletons turn up in the photographs. They don't add a great deal, except perhaps to underline the words Coupland writes.

"Polaroids From The Dead" is a collection of snapshots of all kinds -- photos, experiences, and stories. Meditative, melancholy and atmospheric.

5-0 out of 5 stars Polaroids from an amazing author
Every time I pick up a Coupland book I am always pleasantly surprised. Polaroids is a quick and easy read. The sections are split up into 5-10 page short stories. These small pieces are set in three parts. The first being short observations of the many different people you would find at a greatful dead concert. Coupland delves into the reasons each person comes to the concert and their daily lives outside of it. He compares the opinions of true hippies to wanna-be hippies. There is a charming tale near the end of this section that is told by a mother to her children as they wait for their father to finish watching the show.

The second part is a variety of observations that range from the majestic beauty of the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, Canada to postacards from friends and a painting of an F-111 that speaks to the author on a spiritual level.

The Last section brings us to Brentwood, California. This section shows us many different ways of looking at Brentwood. Coupland lists advertising displays, answers the question: what sort of person lives in Brentwood, The relationship between Brentwood and O.J.Simpson, the colors that are predominant in Brentwood, etc..etc..

This amusing book makes one take a harder look at people and their surroundings. It asks you the questions no one else bothers to ask: "Who are these people around me and why do they do the things they do?" I was quite pleased with this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading social commentary.

Also recommended: THE LOSERS' CLUB by Richard Perez

4-0 out of 5 stars DeadHeads, Baby
I enjoyed this book.It's not as strong as Generation-X or Shampoo Planet, but the prose style is in the same vent.The letter to Kurt Cobain here is the most interesting, especially for those of us who miss him and love his music.

But Coupland's FUN "expose" of Bay Area culture, especially DeadHead culture, is right on.Anyone who has walked down Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley will smile upon reading the opening paragraphs here.And anyone who has seen (or been around) any of the Deadhead carnivals around the Greek Theater in Berkeley will also laugh and smile knowingly....

This is a groovy book, baby.

3-0 out of 5 stars Middle of the road
Lukewarm collection of stories, essays, and observations from Generation X's primary author and voice. The first part of the collection (the titular "Polaroids") consists of short vignettes involving Deadheads at a Grateful Dead concert, of which only "How Clear Is Your Vision of Heaven?" seems to be effective. In that tale, Columbia tells her young children a bedtime story (about an enchanted city beset by drought that continues on a downward spiral with the appearance of a skeleton) as they all bunk inside an Econoline van while Columbia's husband Ezekiel enjoys the concert alone.

The middle of the book is the best read. "Portraits of People and Places" is a collection of essays, letters, postcards, pictures, and rants about different places that Coupland has visited and experienced. His piece of Lions Gate Bridge is perhaps one of the best pieces I've ever read about Coupland. I loved the image he created with the trumpeter playing tunes for the gridlocked drivers/passengers while the suicide jumper teetered over the edge of the bridge. Coupland's descriptions of Palo Alto, CA, Los Alamos, NM, and Vancouver are magnificent. I've never been to these places, but Coupland effectively recreates them without much effort.

The final part is the "Brentwood Notebook," an interesting piece on suburban Brentwood, California, site of Marilyn Monroe's suicide in 1962 and the Nicole Brown Simpson-Ron Goldman murders in 1994, of which football great OJ Simpson was tried and acquitted in what has become the trial of the 20th century. Coupland goes through every detail of the suburb, from the fact that it is NOT an actual city, just a suburb, to details about nearby cemetaries and places of interests. A map would have been nice, however.

Overall, I have to give this one a three. The first part did nearly next to nothing for me. The middle was wonderful; the end was anti-climactic. The numerous photos helped, especially the cover photo of the beautiful actress Sharon Tate, who, within the book on pp. 14-15, eerily shares space with the man who had her killed, infamous murderer Charles Manson.

4-0 out of 5 stars the circus is over
With the passing of Jerry Garcia, the boomers last relic has dissappearedand, as such, has sixties culture (finally).Coupland shows in Polaroidsfrom the Dead an intellectual's view of dead shows (along with much more,of course).Yeah dead shows are fun, but are they fun for the kids of theboomers who are dragged along while their parents pine over their lostsouls and youth?What is important about this book is that it shows theneo-dead heads who only knew the Vince Welnick dead that they aren'tmissing anything.The kids would probably be better off at home tinkeringon the internet and checking their stocks (like me). ... Read more

20. Generation X. Geschichten für eine immer schneller werdende Kultur.
by Douglas Coupland
Paperback: 255 Pages (1994-12-01)

Isbn: 3351022603
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