LIFE AFTER GOD by Douglas Coupland


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 Professional pulse-taker Coupland (Generation X, Shampoo Planet) here presumes to speak for and to a generation raised without religion. And by the end of this fragmentary, drifting fiction, he reaches out for transcendence and belief. It's one helluva stretch. The narrator of the eight linked sections of this affectless fiction (with their trendy, goofy titles) prematurely worries about aging and death. Memories of a failed marriage mingle with profiles of former ``X''ers discovering the harsher realities of adulthood. A primal experience at a local McDonald's on the day of a distant nuclear test nurtured odd fantasies of the final moment, and a year in a dingy hotel introduced the narrator to some unsavory headbangers and hustlers. His later life as a software salesman makes him envy the freedom of the birds and the miracle of flight. Other turning points include a car breakdown in the California desert with loads of illegal steroids in the trunk. The narrator's older sister, obsessed with Patty Hearst, one day disappeared, though he doesn't give up hope of finding her. His friends from brighter days in northwestern Canada are settling into their post- ironic 30s as apocalyptic Christians, bitter alcoholics, bored housewives, and sad AIDS victims: all are becoming the types of people they once mocked, with little love to keep them going. Coupland's typically callow social observations and wacky aphorisms fill out the narrative. His amateurish line drawings aspire to Zeitgeist design. And ``blank generation'' here seems to mean lots of empty space on the pages. Heavy silences and minimalist diction: Samuel Beckett made easy for the Beavis and Butt-head generation.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-671-87433-0
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1993


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