Douglas Coupland is a novelist who also works in visual arts and theater. His novels include Generation X, Microserfs, All Families Are Psychotic, and Hey Nostradaumus!. He lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.
In his ninth novel, veteran Canadian writer Coupland (Hey Nostradamus!) treads familiar ground with wayward Generation X characters and feckless family members, but here he is particularly interested in how loneliness affects his protagonist, the chronically solitary Liz Dunn. Liz has reconciled herself to seeking inner peace as her primary goal in life, since companionship on any level will always elude her. This mindset changes when terminally drab Liz discovers that she has a 20-year-old son, Jeremy, who has a debilitating physical affliction but the looks, personality, and charm of a young Tom Cruise. In the first part, Coupland provides a moving narrative as Liz learns for the first time what it's like to care and provide for someone you love. Unfortunately, he ultimately falls back on old standbys (e.g., zany plot twists) and a surfeit of caustically hip turns of phrase that dismantle most everything of substance developed in the book's beginning. This departure from poignancy eventually results in a satisfying transformation for Liz but an unrealistic one for readers. Given the book's unevenness, recommended only where Coupland is popular.-Kevin Greczek, Ewing, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Liz Dunn is fat, lonely and has no friends. That sounds harsh, but Coupland faces unpleasant facts head on in this poignant, funny, intrepidly offbeat new novel. The only exciting incident ever to brighten Liz's life was a class trip to Rome when she was 16, during which she attended a party where she drank so much she can't remember what happened. Nine months after she returned home, she gave birth to a son, an event hidden from her family because of her natural rotundness. Liz gave the child up for adoption and then launched into a life of perpetual loneliness (hence the title's nod to the lonely lady of Beatles fame). All this changes when her now 20-year-old son, Jeremy, shows up. He's a great kid, but his story is tragic-he bounced around foster homes until he could take care of himself, he has multiple sclerosis and his body is rapidly deteriorating. Coupland, whose hip literary homeruns include Generation X and Hey Nostradamus, avoids the pitfalls of weepy melodrama with sarcastic humor, inspired treatment of the weirdness of everyday life and dark mystical interludes (Jeremy has bleak visions about farmers who receive odd messages from God). At the novel's spectacular, and spectacularly unexpected, denouement, Liz finally meets the father of her son. It's a bittersweet reunion and a perfect ending to this clever, inspired, brilliantly strange tale. Agent, Eric Simonoff at Janklow & Nesbit. (Jan.) Forecast: This is Coupland's tightest novel in recent years and will likely attract new readers while fully satisfying his loyal base. Six-city author tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"Coupland...writes a sparkling sentence and a mean epigram." --Entertainment Weekly "Coupland has crafted a formidable pop style that hooks up dead-on cultural anthropology with surprising reserves of emotion...What's remarkable is how easy it is for even the best adjusted among us to see ourselves in Coupland's compassionate (and occasionally madcap) portrait." --Village Voice "Told with abundant wit and a deceptive simplicity." --Boston Globe "Coupland's weirdest and most accomplished work to date...could be one of the first great novels of the new century." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Poignant, funny, intrepidly offbeat...[a] clever, inspired, brilliantly strange tale." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)