Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You'll hate to love this..., 14 Dec 2006
This review is from: Microserfs (Paperback)
It was only a couple of years ago that I was sitting in the pub with a guy from my course at University discussing the merits of Coupland's breathtaking 'Generation X'. My drinking buddy had read it as part of his A-Level English course and we were discussing the merits of the book - "poignant", "existentialistic", "thought-provoking", "depressing", "moving". It was then that another drinking companion of ours stepped in and asked "So what exactly is the book about?". Inevitable silence fell. Coupland has the enviable ability to write about absolutely nothing, yet disguise it as a well-crafted story - look at "Generation X", look at "Life After God", then look at "Microserfs".

No matter how much you detest this book, how shallow or one-dimensional you feel the characters are, how little you feel the story actually develops, this is still an undeniably brilliant piece of literature. It is not the characters that give the book it's purpose - it is the ideas that are hidden within the prose. On reading this I embraced the randomness of the story - both by appreciating the way that the syntax is presented on the page and the idiosyncrasies of the characters. Without accepting this lack of coherance - you cannot appreciate what the story is REALLY about. The truth is, on reading this I got the impression that Coupland was using this book as an excuse to expound his personal philosophies - to raise the questions that he wanted to ask in his other novels but never quite found the opportunity.

For me, an avid Coupland fan, this book ended not on a sad note, but on a triumphant note. Throughout the course of the book, our "microserfs" struggle to really see any purpose in the job that they do - there seems to be no intrinsic value in what they achieve, only ever instrumental value. Yet at the end, when Dan's mother has her stroke and cannot communicate, technology, ironically, comes to their aid... there is light at the end of the tunnel.

For those of you who do not like this book, I doubt it's because you don't understand it... I suspect you dislike it because you understand it FAR TOO WELL
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