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JPod: Special Edition Hardcover – 5 Jun 2006

3.5 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (5 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747586772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747586777
  • Product Dimensions: 30.2 x 24.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,364,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Very funny' Sunday Times 'A blackly comic tale of life in the age of Google, and it's Coupland's best book in years ... A wonderfully inventive book, fizzing with wit and black humour' Image 'The perfect vehicle for his funny and poignant evocations of near-term nostalgia ... there is brilliance at work in JPod. Not to mention more LOLs than you could shake a bong at' Los Angeles Times 'A dazzling comic novel, confirming that there is on current form no funnier novelist writing in English' Literary Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

This is a special Limited edition of 3000 copies.
Each hardback copy is signed by the author and comes in a presentation case together with one of six cube figures based on the characters from J-pod, and manufactured by the cubepeople, Characters include;
Ethan,Bree,John Doe,Cowboy,Kaitlin and Evil Mark.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I became obsessed with Douglas Coupland's books when I first read Gen X, Shampoo Planet and Life After God in the space of a few weeks and have, ever since Microserfs, awaited each new one with expectations that were rarely disappointed. The overall success of his output since has varied a little, many people suggesting that he does one good then one so-so book, but the last couple - Hey Nostradamus and Eleanor Rigby - were as good as if not better than his best to date (Microserfs, in my opinion) and all of his books, however contrived the subplots and kitschy the references, had a soulfulness and poetry to them that transcended the gimmicks.

JPod is like someone lacking that humanity tried - and failed - to mimic Microserfs. It's devoid of ideas. The technology that, again, felt like a gimmick in Microserfs is now so commonplace that it's got no cachet, the family subplot is painfully unreal and not remotely touching (recall "hellojed" for a reminder of how tear-jerking he could be), the way 'Coupland' inserts himself into the story about halfway through is a poor imitation of Bret Easton Ellis and pages and pages are filled with numbers that no-one will ever read, like he ran out of oopmh and just needed to hit that word count, no questions asked.

If anyone read his recent Morrissey 'interview' for the Observer Music Monthly they should know what to expect - as that was an interview without any quotes or input from the subject, so this is a novel without any creative input or heart from the author.

I would go so far as to recommend that Coupland fans who have not yet read this book should avoid it - this is his 'Phantom Menace' and it stinks.
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
Sometimes you get a bad feeling from the first page of a book, such as when the author namedrops himself. In this case, clever Douglas Coupland.

Fortunately that bad feeling doesn't continue throughout the geek purgatory of "JPod," which can be seen as a sort of sequel to "Microserfs" -- bored, brilliant people in unfulfilling corporate jobs. It staggers at the midway point, but the corporate bizarrities are definitely worth the read.

When he's not dealing with a doomed video game, Ethan is trying to help his parents -- his pot-growing mum killed a hostile biker, and his wannabe-actor dad is having a hot affair with a sexy girl Ethan's age. To make matters worse, his brother has smugglesd illegal Chinese immigrants into his home without permission. And you thought YOUR day was bad.

Things deteriorate even more when the JPod boss develops an obsessive crush on Ethan's mother, and he ends up getting shipped to China. Now it's Ethan's job to go retrieve him, since the turtle-themed video game is being destroyed by their new manager. But getting the boss back won't be the end of his problems.

Let's get this out of the way: Coupland casts himself as a character in "JPod." Essentially it's his evil, sociopathic clone. Coupland does get credit for not making himself come across as appealing at all, but the whole sequence seems very gimmicky and artificial.

"JPod" itself is a smirky black comedy, with lots of dysfunctional characters and a a lot of all-out comic situations. In fact, he really never lets up with the comedy, with idiot bosses, lesbian mothers with lowercase names, and even a gangster born without a sense of humor. Not to mention love letters to Ronald MacDonald. Yes, the fast-food clown.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read everything that Coupland has ever written and loved it all - for a variety of reasons and to a variety of degrees - I was looking forward to this book enormously, however I curse the day I ever picked it up let alone read it.

Marketing it as Microserfs for the Google generation is an interesting angle, it's just a shame that the book isn't. In fact you'd be forgiven for thinking that he just swapped some characters names around and changed the title of Microserfs.

The characters are nearly identical to Microserfs, he uses the same old print devices of mixed sized fonts and copious amounts of prime numbers printed on page after page after page, but most disappointingly he appears to have nothing to say. Not even anything new to say, just nothing to say.

Perhaps even more unforgivably, he has written himself into the book as a character. Yep okay he portrays himself as a complete and utter idiot, which I can only imagine he perceives to be ironic, but his characterisation of himself is so flimsy that it tells you everything you need to know about the other characters.

This is lazy, sloppy work that really isn't worthy of a writer of Coupland's talent and insights. I can only surmise that he is starting to believe his own PR. It's so bad that it casts a pall over his other excellent books. Let's hope it's a one-time blip. If you love Coupland, please don't read this book.

I can hardly bear to have it in my home and it will be going to the British Heart Foundation as soon as possible. Dramatic, I know, but that's how gutted I am about this novel.
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Format: Paperback
I've heard die-hard Coupland fans give up without finishing J-Pod, and I've heard others say it's genius. I say it's a short story that's been padded out to make a novel. It doesn't have the soul of Microserfs, the Coupland novel most people will compare it to, and its certainly not a sequel. Neither of those things are criticisms. I think it's a misunderstood novel.

One of the things that seems to be putting people off is the self-referencing. I think Coupland's actually playing with his own public perceptions. It can come across as a little smug, but he is deliberately experimenting with his audience a little. (If you've read Kurt Vonnegut's Timequake, or Breakfast with Champions, you'll be familiar with the trick of writing yourself in at the critical moment.) Coupland is exploring, almost satirising, his own public persona, like Eminem seems to do quite regularly on his comeback singles.

J-Pod is not your normal Coupland fayre. There doesn't seem to be any redemption for the characters, nobody sees the light and becomes a better person. The end is almost an anticlimax, an undoing. And yet, it's not a bad book. It's just an anti-Coupland, a negative of Microserfs, an alternative worldview that makes his readers re-appraise his other books.

But if you're a fan and you're still not convinced, I'm confident Coupland's next novel will be nothing like it.
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