Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Gum Thief – Douglas Coupland

The story is written as an exchange of letters and diary entries. Which stem from Bethany discovering Roger’s notebook in the staff room at Staples. Shocked to discover Roger's writing diary entries pretending to be her, she writes back to him. This develops into an unlikely friendship as they start to share their thoughts and feeling on the world. A couple of thoughts I particularly liked were:
“I think if human beings had genuine courage, they'd wear their costumes every day of the year, not just Halloween. Wouldn't life be more interesting that way?”
“Have you ever stayed in a hostel? It's like a crack den without the crack.”

Roger is writing a novel within the book called Glove Pond, it's obliviously a story about his life and Bethany responses to it by writing short stories about buttering toast, from the toast perspective, I found this to be a stroke of genius:

“I can't see the knife coming my way! If you wanted to scare me it worked, and . . . oh jeez . . . it's not even butter, it's margarine. Oh dear God, it's not even margarine – it's spread - house-brand spread...”

Coupland continues themes that are familiar within his work, that of loneness, memories and life. He always seems to find another stance on them though, which keeps the subject fresh.

Overall a book fans of Coupland won't be disappointed with, and for those new to his work, not a bad introduction. I would be inclined to suggest Hey Nostradamus! or for a more geeky alternative Microserfs over this though.


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