14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A milestonenovel by a milestone author. Read it.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Girlfriend in a Coma (Paperback)
Douglas Coupland is a Canadian Author whose early 90's novel Generation X accidently defined a generation struggling to grow into adulthood. This late 90's novel may well be his best work to date (though personally it is a close call between this and his 2003 novel Hey Nostradamus).
Coupland takes a group of characters surrounded by pop culture references and global branding and sees them from their teens through to their thirties before forcing them to confront issues that they were always to busy to think about; love, death, family, enviromental destruction, the future and what exactly are we here for anyway? Most western readers born since the wars will recognise the world the characters live in and are equally to busy to confront these important issues. To this end the book often feels like a refreshing and some times desturbing critique of the readers own life expirence. Some reviewrs here suggest that this is ham fisted. But although the writing style is stark in places I found the story all the more shocking and immersive because of it.
The books takes it's name from a song title by seminal 80's guitar popsters The Smiths and their lyrics are liberally scattered through out the chapters. Spotting these is a real treat for any Morrissey or Smiths fan but never dominates the story and characters. Music journalists have often put the Smiths cross generational legacy down to their popularity with young people struggling with the transition into adulthood. The books appeal is very similair and it feels like an essential read for any one in their late teens to mid twenties.
Girlfirned in a Coma is an accssible, engrossing and easy read, the characters are great and the story is an excellent snap shot of the culture of it's time. But at the same time it deals with the most heavy weight issue since the enlightenment;
now that the West has got rid of God, how do we find lasting satisfaction?
And how do we approach the sticky subject of our inevitable deaths?
The book offers no answers. It feels as if it intends the reader, like the central characters, to go away and think seriously for themsevles. For this reason I believe it is a masterpiece.
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