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Life After God [Paperback]

Douglas Coupland
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Mar 1995
A collection of short stories which consider the generation who have been brought up without religious faith or beliefs.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (31 Mar 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671874349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671874346
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 11.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,654,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Douglas Coupland was born on a Canadian NATO base in Beden-Sollingen, (West) Germany on December 30, 1961. He is the author of bestselling fiction, including GENERATION X, LIFE AFTER GOD, POLAROIDS FROM THE DEAD, MICROSERFS, GIRLFRIEND IN A COMA and ALL FAMILIES ARE PSYCHOTIC. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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I was driving you up to Prince George to the home of your grandfather, the golf wino. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Life, eh? What a let down... 19 April 2010
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.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
I'll admit to having read many of Coupland's books. As a chronicler of our vacuous, materialist age and the damage it inflicts on us as human beings, he is without peer. After his seemingly more substantial works like All Families Are Psychotic, Eleanor Rigby and Hey Nostradamus, the pared down, minimalist structure of Life After God at first seemed ethereal and a cop-out even. But as I read on, I realised that in Coupland's case, less is more.
This is a profound and almost scary take on modern life. The structure (there are several narrators) and lack of plot in the conventional sense may make it hard for some to appreciate, but as with all Coupland's books I found myself laughing aloud one minute and pondering deep sorrow the next. He has an uncanny ability to nail the quintessential element in a vague emotion and nail it. Here's one of my favourites;
"Now: I believe that you've had most of your important memories by the time you're thirty. After that, memory becomes water overflowing into an already full cup. New experiences just don't register in the same way or with the same impact. I could be shooting herion with the Princess of Wales , naked in a crashing jet, and the experience still wouldn't compare to the time the cops chased us after we threw the Taylors' patio furniture into their pool...."
Brilliant. Buy it. Read it. Read it again. Delicious!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A lecturer of mine from university once gave me a list of books to read, which at first glance, had nothing to do with the module we were studying at the time. "These books are not designed to teach you anything as such" he began, "I have recommended them only to create a spirit of reflection". Having read all of the books on the list (sad life I lead), I asked him again whether there was some underlying common thread between all of the novels he had included. His answer: the only element that each book had in common was that you needed to embark upon a period of mourning after finishing each novel - the only mark of a truly wonderful read.

I include this story only because my lecturer discluded it from his list - "Life After God" is both thought-provoking and wonderful. Typical of Coupland's written prose, it is difficult to really summarise what the story is about. Quite simply, it is a series of biographical reflections penned by a man who never quite seems to come to terms with his own nihilistically, existentialistic reflections. Each page in itself is worthy of praise, every thought is both harrowing and revelationary. Never a word wasted, never a memory misplaced, this surely is Coupland at his very best.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more directed coupland 13 July 2006
Anyone with a vague cerebral itch that their life is missing something should read this book. Anyone who feels that existence is a meaningless ritual of minutiae with an absence of narrative should seek it out and have Coupland once again have their suspicions confirmed.

Probably best not to do it on your own over Christmas and New Year though. Doesn't really put you in the party mood.

This is the third Coupland novel I've read (following Girlfriend in a Coma & Miss Wyoming). Once again Coupland proves his expertise at articulating the need for need that our generation occasionally suffers from. Told as sporadic journal entries and stream of conscious reminiscences, it makes its point more directly than the two later novels I read, but is maybe less memorable or enjoyable for eschewing narrative (though the absence of narrative in life is one of his main points).

Closure is once again however his weak point. Like Miss Wyoming and (especially) Girlfriend in a Coma, he ends with the vagaries of Easy Rider style escapism, where the 9-5 is rejected in order to just head off and, you know, do stuff. Just switch off your television set and go and do something less boring instead.

But then, by accurately portraying our questioning of how inconsequential work and life is, it's inevitable that he'll never be able to give us an answer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite Douglas Coupland Book
OK, they're all my favourite but this is my favourite favourite. Moving, funny, compelling and written beautifully, as ever, by British Columbia's favourite son.
Published 4 months ago by R. Stephens
3.0 out of 5 stars Very odd style of writing
It's not what I thought it would be, but it is interesting and I am enjoying it. A lot of nuclear fixation.
Published 6 months ago by Victoria Howells
4.0 out of 5 stars The view from Vancouver
Doug's a bit like a tasty supplement you sprinkle 'atop' your cereal, but is he a complete meal? 'Dazzlingly disposable', as The Daily Telegraph remarked nicely of the work that... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Simon Barrett
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. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Noel
3.0 out of 5 stars Departure from his other works
I am a fan of Coupland and had first come to him through Girlfriend in a Coma and then Hey Nostradamus. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Lily Lit
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely captures the spirit of 'now'.
I haven't read a book that captures this well what it is like to be a young adult in the time we live in. Read more
Published 22 months ago by N. Weaving
3.0 out of 5 stars utter pointlessness
This novel seems to want to state the utter pointlessness of existence. However after 89 pages of pointlessness, I gave up.
Published 22 months ago by Mr. Robert Marsland
4.0 out of 5 stars Poetic disaffection...with hope.
I enjoyed this book. The prose is no less affecting or entertaining for it's minimalism. The story of this man, told in bite-size brilliance as he contemplates life,meaning and... Read more
Published on 9 Oct 2011 by vi
5.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet and moving
I am a huge fan of Coupland, and this book, structured into several vignettes, is one of his best. Each story is moving in its own way. Read more
Published on 2 Feb 2011 by Rhia20
2.0 out of 5 stars Padding
Seriously visit a bookshop and have a look at this book, you may see 200 pages but each page contains a single paragraph, or a huge child like scrawl of a drawing. Read more
Published on 30 May 2010 by Paul M
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