The Gum Thief Paperback – 1 Oct 2007
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A post-modern delight. Playfully structured, and with a warm heart, it's full of witty observations and real solace. -- Esquire
A tender and hopeful story that shows how, with friendship and the occasional little act of rebellion, there can still be laughter after tragedy. -- Daily Mail
Classic Douglas Coupland... There are lines that couldn't fail to move the most hardened Coupland-phobe. -- Independent
Coupland throws back more "meaning of life" maxims than La Rochefoucauld ... Very smart. And horribly entertaining. -- Financial Times Magazine
Funny; genuinely, embarrass-yourself-on-a-plane funny. The Gum Thief sometimes reads like a more cleverly executed version of Breakfast of Champions. -- The Times
`A post-modern delight. Playfully structured, and with a warm heart, it's full of witty observations and real solace' -- Esquire
`The Coupland mix is familiar by now: the quiet desperations of contemporary life, depicted in an ultra-hip style. Just because you're desperate does not mean you can't be cool. Or have to be quiet .... Is life a big deal, or no big deal? Coupland throws back more "meaning of life" maxims than La Rochefoucauld ... Very smart. And horribly entertaining'
-- John Sutherland, Financial Times Magazine
`The story unfolds in a novel that serves as a metaphor for the way in which people care and share in the internet age' -- Arena
About the Author
Douglas Coupland is a novelist who also works in visual arts and theatre. His novels include Eleanor Rigby, Generation X, All Families Are Psychotic, Hey Nostradamus! and JPod. He lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.
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Top Customer Reviews
BTW, the title above is apt. Did you know that "flotsam" is marine debris that was not deliberately thrown overboard, (as if from an accident), and "jetsam" is debris that was intentionally tossed, (as in "jettisoned")? That's exactly what Coupland gives you in his books.
On the other hand, at no stage is this laugh-out-loud funny, and the overall tone and direction starts to get tiring about halfway through. The excruciating nature of the failed novel starts to pall fairly quickly, and the characters start to meander. Towards the end of the book, it almost starts to get morose, as it attempts to get serious. It is not sufficiently well written for an ending of genuine pathos, but by then Coupland appears to have given up trying to be arch and witty.
Overall, I'm not sure Coupland knew what he was really trying to do with this book. There is not enough acute observation and depth to be a genuinely human, or humane, piece of work. However, it is not out-and-out funny, provoking a few smirks rather than guffaws, and is not as wacky or as smart as it would like to think it is.
This wouldn't make me want to rush out and buy the entire back-catalogue. But it wouldn't totally put me off, either. Neither one thing nor another.
I wish Coupland had stuck with the initial idea used at the start of the book of having one character write as if they were another.
The author of Microserfs and Eleanor Rigby has lost none of this ability to get inside the lives of unextraordinary people and portray a world that's not just instantly recognisable but so familiar that it's uncanny. However even if The Gum Thief is much better than JPod it's still not a return to the form of his earlier work. At a recent public speaking opportunity Coupland insisted on reading only from Glove Pond, perhaps this is a reflection on how he sees his own novels.
Worth picking up if you're already a fan, but not a good introduction.
It must be really difficult to follow such massive creations as most of his previous output.
This one has a distinct whiff of turn the handle and churn out some more cash.
Thanks so much for some of the best books I have ever read though!
For a while I thought that one of the characters in Roger's novel was writing Roger's world into existence, like some kind of postmodern paradox, but unfortunately that didn't occur.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
At first I thought this would be a confusing book to read with all the different voices intertwining, but you very quickly get drawn into the characters and their lives. Read morePublished on 29 May 2014 by Reviewer
I really liked this book. The author proves yet again that he has his finger on the pulse of contemporary life. His writing is crisp and engaging. Read morePublished on 11 Mar. 2013 by J. Craven
I've always admired the fact that Douglas Coupland can exploit metafiction and postmodern absurdity while still remaining within the limits of 'commercial fiction'. Read morePublished on 7 May 2010 by Nicola
This book presents a snapshot into the lives of different people who all work together - it is perhaps the only thing they have in common. Read morePublished on 1 Aug. 2009 by S. Dass
I've read and enjoyed everything Coupland has written, right up to 2006's "jPod". This was massively disappointing - it seemed as if everything I'd loved about his previous works... Read morePublished on 30 Jun. 2009 by S. P. Long
I really struggled on what star rating to give this book. If I could I would've given it an extra half star. Read morePublished on 8 May 2009 by N. E. Mathers
Decent Coupland but not exceptional, which is to say that it's still pretty good by anyone else's standards. Read morePublished on 6 Dec. 2008 by M. G. Wilson