Coupland Interview

A very good interview with Douglas Coupland, one of my favorite authors.

Douglas Coupland is good at labels. He is an accomplished lifestyle taxonomist, an acute observer of social trends. His books and conversation glisten with consumer brands and pop-cultural name-checks. In the disaffected suburbs of Couplandland, such shared references are the glue that holds the post-political, post-religious, post-post (he was an early evangelist for email) world together. But he is not good at being labelled.

In recent years I’ve been reading a lot of novels set in contemporary settings, there are a few must reads in there, he’s one of them, along with Chuck Palahniuk.


Alex August 26, 2003

did you read less than zero from ellis!

Patrick August 26, 2003

Yup. Good call, excellent writer. All three are different in style but kind of similar in the way they observe and reflect our times.

aj August 27, 2003

I have to catch up on his latest stuff.I found that right up to Girlfriend In A Coma, he’d fall into this structure of having a series of random events happen to his characters (no plot per se) and then one character (usually in the penultimate chapter) delivers a multi-page monologue to all the other characters – a completely literary type of monologue, unnatural in real conversation – that Sets Everything Straight, Reveals Truths and Changes Everyone. Enlightenment ex machina. But I love his observations, and sometimes I wonder, how the hell did he get inside my head – I see things I think about, word for word, in his writing.

I absolutely love City of Glass (his small-press book about Vancouver) and Souvenir of Canada (designed to look like one of those government-issued Books About Canada issued at the 1967 centennial / Expo 67). Apparently there’s a sequel to Souvenir of Canada due out in 2004.

Patrick August 27, 2003

He was losing me too with Girlfriend in a Coma and Miss Wyoming but I loved All Families are Psychotic. I have to say I didnt notice the monologues you mention but just from the joy of reading them and the fun of the story Families was Coupland back to top shape.

Havent read his two non fictions, have to get to that soon.

Alex August 27, 2003

I’ve only read Microserfs from Coupland. Am I mistaken if I say that it’s VERY different from his other books? Microserfs could have been an HBO movie easily, I think, you know? That tender, self-deprecating, humourous, kind of story, except that it also contains the funniest and most diverse Pop culture references I ever read in a novel!

I guess it’s ol Generation X i should start with, which is apprently in the vein of less than zero and catcher in the rye (and some other similar attempts).

Patrick August 27, 2003

I have to say, I read both of them years ago and rember some parts and the fact I loved both but I dont remember enough details to say which is different from the others.

Gen X might be closer to Catcher in the Rye which was “softer”. I have much more of a feeling of difficult events and desperation from Less than Zero than from the other two.

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