For a long time I wondered whether Coupland, christened as the voice of “Generation X”, had in fact anything significant to say (and I also wondered whether that apparent lack of significance was an ironic truth in itself). But “Girlfriend” is a dam-burst of previous promise and more than worth the long wait. The plot is a bravely inventive imagining of that tired end-of-the-world scenario but it is executed with such accomplishment that the end, when it comes, leaves you feeling as cold and alien as must the surviving protagonists. His characters are so beautifully drawn that the reader feels a genuine concern for what happens to them in the strange dying world in which they find themselves. Indeed it is probably because Coupland manages so successfully to draw you into the fantastical plot that he is able to thread through it a metaplot of much grander ideas: death and rebirth, choice and causality, reality and the transcendental. He writes about these things with humour, honesty and a powerful economy of language so that there are spaces left between the dots for the reader to join themselves. Consequently this is a story not just to read and reread but to recommend and then enjoy discussing in the reflective small hours of the night. Rarely would I use the phrase “page-turner” in describing a work of literary fiction but this book is inarguably that.