Shop now Shop now Shop now Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
46
3.9 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 14 March 2006
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!
0Comment| 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 January 2016
20 years since I first read this. 20 years that have vanished before I even thought about them starting....so many lifetimes..lovers, children, divorce, careers, loss, fortune, the town and the city and all the spaces in between, my babies become teenagers and I move to grey and a nagging/boring obsession with my waist size..I have memories of this book: beautiful and simple and elegant and moving and spiritual with a small 's'..and I've recommended and bought this for so many that I wanted to see if it still means what it did.

It does. Coupland still makes me smile in ways I only recognise when I read him; ("he was so curious to know what being shot would be like. To facilitate shooting he would always wear his shirts wide open at the chest, like a 1976 person"), ("there were no clean spoons around the house so I ate cottage cheese with a plastic tortoiseshell shoehorn that was lying next to the couch - so I guess I've hit a new personal low"), and now gives me that added ache of nostalgia..the saddest of the loss emotions. This has the strange comfort of a Hold Steady song - reminding me somehow of a time long since passed, or the smell of my favourite Chivas Regal 25, and could make me cry on a deeper, more pale afternoon. Tempting to be cynical of course..Coupland with his oh so meaningful 20 something generation little baby nothing small life lessons, and too cool for school ain't I tortured and interesting characters, but that would mean reading this with head not heart and there are plenty of other reading experiences for that. These are snatches of meaningless conversations, (like most words exchanged), sketches of moods ("..summer was over. The cold air sparkled and the maples leaves were rotting, putting forth their lovely reek, like dead pancakes."), the nuclear dead speaking after their everyday mundane flashpoint deaths in shopping malls, offices and hair salons, and clever little metaphors ("counting the Rothkos of skid marks of long-dead car collisions on Interstate 15's white cement lanes").

Some days we need to disappear into a foggy world of dreams, and not return to this, our real world. Life After God allowed me that opportunity today. I slipped through, just for a couple of hours..slipped my own chains. In the words of another great Canadian: "only love can break your heart".

"Time is how the trees grow. I will fall asleep for a thousand years, and when I wake, a mighty spruce tree will have raised me up high, high into the sky"
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 August 2002
I picked this book up serendipitously from a discount counter at a supermarket one day, years ago, during a random scan for cheap books of quality, having never heard of Douglas Coupland until the night before when I'd seen an interview with him on TV, and I was intrigued by his own outlook on life.
I started reading it as I walked home from the shops, and literally couldn't put it down until I'd finished it. I won't say it's empirically a great piece of literature, but his writing struck a chord somewhere in the back of my mind that was like opening a door to an internal Wonderland of thoughts and ideas that were always there but never really examined or appreciated. I've since read it several times (each time in a single sitting) and it's never lost that mind opening quality for me.While perhaps not a book for everyone, I'd heartily recommend it to anyone if they are interested in such ideas as are explored in any of Coupland's books.
0Comment| 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 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.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 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.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 October 2003
This is an odd way to start a 5-star review but here goes. Of all Douglas Coupland's books, this is probably the most rambling and incoherent. In a sense this is not so much a novel as a series of short stories, most of which are almost formless and structureless and almost musings rather than tales. It is only in the last chapter that there is any kind of story taking place.
Some of the opening chapters are serious, some blackly funny (such as the disillusioned grandfather who starts telling his grandchild stories about animals who would have become stars of children's books had they not been depressed, alcoholic or hit with the real world) but it is possible to see them all as a build up to the ideas discussed in the story of the final chapter (I think called "1000 years (Life After God)" but can't check as I don't have the book with me right now.
The final chapter is one of the strongest sections of writing Douglas Coupland has ever done and I personally found it a fascinating and disturbing break down of modern culture and the status of "the pioneers, the first generation without God". I find the chapter, especially the last few pages (and the main character's major confession which I won't write here) amongst the most powerful and revelatory pieces of philosophical writing of recent years.
That said, I've spoken to others who hate the way the book ends and again I suspect this is due to the power of the character's confession as it does bring up ideas that, frankly, many people would rather not think about as, if they are true, have powrful implications for lives in many in the modern - or more crucially post-modern - world.
This is an excellent book. But be aware that it is more a discussion of ideas than of story and this may not appeal to everyone. Also be sure to only read it if you are prepared for someone to challenge your view of the world.
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 February 2007
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.
11 comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 January 2013
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.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 September 2001
Coupland takes us on a journey that succeedes in making emotional contact again and again. Told in a series of short recollections, impressions and observations the story is related by an ordinary, dysfunctional individual slowly coming apart as he questions growing up and contemporary life in America. Reading, I found myself drawn into the central character's life, the experiences described resonating as though my own. Life after god is a book that I thoroughly recommend and one which I shall dip into repeatedly.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 September 2000
"Bye Bye fishes." "Make sure you two stay together. You're the only chance that either of you is ever going to get."
i could quote half the book and make another 1000 fans like me. his thoughts penned down will talk to you like a personal friend, who knows what you are thinking exactly, without you saying anything. i have never read a book with this inexplicable closeness. for those who could spare moments to connect yourself with the profound, the thoughts buried by reality should surface with this book. take a step back, and realise that we are so small yet special. his fears are able to make you nod in agreement and find common grounds. take some time to see life from a different angle. you will find much is blinded by useless issues that world cry, fought... about.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items

£7.99

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.