ELEANOR RIGBY by Douglas Coupland
Kirkus Star


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A remembrance of things past that turns inexplicably into a harbinger of the apocalypse—as well as Coupland’s (Hey Nostradamus!, 2003, etc.) weirdest and most accomplished work to date.

Liz Dunn, unmarried and unattached, works as a cubicle clone at some communications firm in Vancouver and appears to have few passions, obsessions, vocations, or hobbies. One night, however, she’s struck by a bolt out of the blue—almost literally—when a fragment of a meteorite lands a few feet away from her in the parking lot of her local supermarket. All at once, her life begins to change: she becomes hopeful, lighthearted, and about as euphoric as a Canadian can be. Shortly thereafter, she even receives a telephone call from the Mounties asking her to stop in at a nearby hospital, where a young man has been admitted who claims to be her son—as, in fact, he is. Jeremy is the fruit of a one-night stand in Rome on a high school trip 20 years before, but Liz put him up for adoption immediately after his birth and never saw him again. Now, he has multiple sclerosis and is suffering from hallucinations brought on by drugs. Liz immediately assumes responsibility for his care, then slowly begins to recall the events of that long-ago summer in Rome. When police contact her and ask her to assist them in a difficult and extremely bizarre investigation, she even gets summoned to Vienna to meet the boy’s father, whose name she has forgotten. En route, she inadvertently causes an international incident, shuts down one of the largest airports in the world, and ends up in jail. But she does it all with as little fuss as possible and manages to make her way to a happy end.

Extremely funny yet quite moving (and even plausible): could be one of the first great novels of the new century.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-58234-505-8
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2004


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