Abstract only
Author: Andrew Tate

This book is a full-length study of Douglas Coupland, one of the twenty-first century's most innovative and influential novelists. It explores the prolific first decade-and-a-half of his career, from Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (1991) to JPod (2006), a period in which he published ten novels and four significant volumes of non-fiction. Emerging in the last decade of the twentieth century—amidst the absurd contradictions of instantaneous global communication and acute poverty—Coupland's novels, short stories, essays, and visual art have intervened in specifically contemporary debates regarding authenticity, artifice, and art. This book explores Coupland's response, in ground-breaking novels such as Microserfs, Girlfriend in a Coma and Miss Wyoming, to some of the most pressing issues of our times.

Coupland and postmodern spirituality
Andrew Tate

representation of religious belief in Coupland’s work via three connected areas of discussion. The first section locates his fiction in the wider context of the apparent ‘sacred turn’ in contemporary culture. The argument then focuses on the most frequently recurring manifestation of Coupland’s spiritual sensibility in his use of epiphany as a structuring motif in a number of the novels including Generation X, Life After God, Girlfriend in a Coma, Miss Wyoming (2000) and Eleanor Rigby. These visionary encounters are related to concepts of apocalypse and the final section

in Douglas Coupland
Abstract only
Coupland's contexts
Andrew Tate

, emotionally repressed family reunion. Unhappy domestic life – identified by Palahniuk as the principal sign of grief stricken modernity – is the major theme of Coupland’s first two novels of the twenty-first century. Imitation of Life: Miss Wyoming (2000) and All Families Are Psychotic (2001) ‘Feeble and forlorn and floundering and foolish and frustrating and functional and sad, sad.’ Paul Hood, one of the gauche adolescent protagonists of Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm (1994), offers an alliterative and damning assessment of Nixon-era ‘family values’.57 The traditional

in Douglas Coupland
Coupland and space
Andrew Tate

buildings and design (MS, p. 23).10 At the end of the decade, however, in a short article for Architectural Record, Coupland offered a very different perspective on the legacy of the 1990s. The article celebrates the revivification of Modernism and ‘the volumes of vigorous, innovative, and compelling architecture for which this decade will happily be remembered’.11 Coupland’s fiction vacillates between Abe-style scepticism and intermittent displays of enthusiasm for the new. In Miss Wyoming (2000), for example, the novelist represents alternative experiences of

in Douglas Coupland
Coupland, consumption and junk culture
Andrew Tate

also perfectly rational, and in other contemporary narratives his behaviour would appear mundane. The movement from Puritan self-denial to hedonist self-gratification frequently plays out in reverse in Coupland’s narratives. In Miss Wyoming (2000), for example, John Johnson – a man bearing the most generic name possible – gradually recognizes that the incongruous financial ‘rewards’ harvested by his Hollywood movies are part of ‘the delirium of excess’ at the centre of contemporary life.22 Johnson is certainly not immune to the seductions of his world – prostitutes

in Douglas Coupland
Abstract only
Jpod and Coupland in the future
Andrew Tate

Me (2005), Coupland uses his ‘favourite event horizon’ of ‘1000 years’ to imagine life in the year 3005 and, via traditional sci-fi images from the 1970s to the present, to re-examine contemporary ways of conceptualizing the future.17 Nevertheless, this craving to witness the future is also experienced by a number of Coupland’s characters in the earlier narratives. In Miss Wyoming (2000), John Johnson – producer of bad movies and failed nomad – remains instinctively optimistic about the world to come. ‘I like to look Conclusion 169 at the numbers rev by on the

in Douglas Coupland
Coupland and narrative
Andrew Tate

Faye as ‘an ersatz coming-of-age novel’, despite its ostensible simplicity, plays with the literary-religious idea of the awakening conscience.44 This brash, entrepreneurial narrator is not punished for pursuing consumer dreams but his moral sensitivity is stirred: ‘I guess I broke something valuable. Or traded it away’ (SP, p. 296). Similarly, Dag’s unconscious performance of a seventeenthcentury spirituality that stresses the necessity of a second, spiritual birth foreshadows the delirious plot of Miss Wyoming (2000). In Coupland’s sixth novel, two minor

in Douglas Coupland
Derek Paget

devastating effect, he ­demonstrated just how much detail of his own life had gone into writer G. F. Newman’s character Dunhill. A simple change of name is not a sufficient tactic in itself to avoid charges of defamation. As Goodenough points out: ‘Merely changing names, events, locations or physical features will not in itself prevent recovery by someone who claims to be recognizably portrayed.’ He cites a 1983 case in 82 No other way to tell it: docudrama on film and television America that was similar to the Dunhill/Campbell one, but more salacious. A ‘Miss Wyoming

in No other way to tell it