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25 June 2009 @ 12:40 pm
jPod, Douglas Coupland

The first two books I read by Coupland were Eleanor Rigby and Hey, Nostradamus!. I developed a vastly inflated impression of his talent as a result.

I couldn't bear the flippancy in this book, regarding death and murder and HUMAN TRAFFICKING and HEROIN ADDICTION. No, spiking cola with cocaine isn't hilarious! It's potentially lethal! Just because a guy gives you a sofa does not excuse him DEALING IN SLAVES!

The writing was so very stilted, too. Observe:

Mom, what's with the outfit? You look like the host of a faltering Japanese game show.


Also, there were PAGES AND PAGES of numbers! And random html scrabble! How he got away with publishing this I have no idea. And those other pages with no paragraph breaks, OH GOD MY EYES.

Sure, there were some bon mots:

If you can control your emotions, chances are you don't have too many.

And his descriptions of China were pretty good, with the whole 'burning air' thing:

Shanghai proper, once called the Whore of Asia, now called the Pearl of Asia, though it might as well be called the Tire Fire of Asia.

I must admit I did like the part where they hacked into an empty building's lighting system so they could play Tetris. But overall, it was just so stupid! And unlikely! Since when does gaming not heavily feature fantasy scenarios? Why is Douglas Coupland a character? What is the point of explaining trolls and flaming to people who don't already know what they are? What's so exciting about a glow-in-the-dark beach ball?

All questions I fear will never be answered.

Previously, on Book Glomp 2009:
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope |The Bostonians, Henry James | For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway | For Esme - with Love and Squalor, JD Salinger | The Outsider, Albert Camus | The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten, Meg Cabot | The Vicar of Bullhampton, Anthony Trollope | Molesworth, Geoffrey Willans | Villette, Charlotte Bronte | The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James | The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler | Cecilia, Fanny Burney | The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger | The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark | Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut | Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann | Siddhartha, Herman Hesse | The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga | The Duke and I, Julia Quinn | Brave New World, Aldous Huxley | North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell | Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee | Catch-22, Joseph Heller | Bright Shiny Morning, James Frey | Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck | The Demon's Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan | The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
Merit: Jemmeritjubet on June 25th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
OT but your icon is vaguely terrifying with the missing top. Pretty though. I mean before I noticed the missing top half I was like, awesome skirt! but yes.

Just because a guy gives you a sofa does not excuse him DEALING IN SLAVES!

Chances are if you can suppress your morals, you don't have any? ;)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: iconomicons undressingscoradh on June 25th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
How's this for a terrifying icon? :D

Merit: Disneymeritjubet on June 26th, 2009 12:03 am (UTC)
Doesn't scare as me much despite the skinlessness. My one point of terror is that her neck seems freakishly long. Could be me and my petite neck though.

jehnt: spn - john winchesterjehnt on June 25th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
Just because a guy gives you a sofa does not excuse him DEALING IN SLAVES!

Having never read this book, I imagine the relevant part to go something like this:

"Jim was an okay guy. I mean, the human trafficking tarnished his humanitarian record a bit, but he gave me a sofa once, so in my book he was pretty decent."


What's so exciting about a glow-in-the-dark beach ball?

.... A GLOW IN THE DARK BEACH BALL OMG WAAAAAAAAANT. seriously. I mean... you could play beach ball games... in the dark.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: iconomicons choose wiselyscoradh on June 25th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
Except for it wasn't a beach ball in actuality, it was just some dumbass new computer shaped like a ball. I can just see it on my desk. D:

If you have never read Coupland, don't read this. If you have, avoid this. (Or did I just say the same thing twice?!)
Yo.: DLMinsipid_paragon on June 25th, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC)
This book is indeed a marvel of suck. I give this review two thumbs up.

(Wasn't it frustrating to have those few really good points of writing? [I remember that China description standing out for me, too.] Didn't they really shine? Or, wouldn't they have, if they weren't bogged down by everything surrounding them? Don't you wish they weren't wasted in this?)

(Also, his author-as-a-character gag just infuriated me. It felt so fucking pompous and condescending I wanted to throttle him and his publisher for letting him get away with it.)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: iconomicons a spoonful of hemlockscoradh on June 25th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
That's just it!!! His more recent work is a lot milder and gentler, and lets his astute observations of human nature shine through. He also seems to have got over his disgust with wanting his characters to have a happy ending.

If he had to do it, couldn't he have made the person someone else? It would have been really funny if JK Rowling was dealing in computer parts in China. But if DC writes himself as an asshole, I'm inclined to believe it. (Also, Vancouver seems like a terrifying place!)