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Eleanor Rigby [Hardcover]

Douglas Coupland
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 2005
A riveting, witty, and profound story of loneliness and connection from internationally bestselling author Douglas Coupland.

The 1997 night that Hale-Bopp streaks across the skies over Vancouver, Liz Dunn has nothing in her life but impending oral surgery and an armful of schmaltzy video rentals to get her through her solitary convalescence in her sterile condo. She's overweight, crabby, and plain, but behind her eyes lurk whole universes that she's never had the opportunity to express. Just as Liz makes a quiet decision to seek peace in her life rather than certainty, along comes another comet, in the form of a young man admitted to the local hospital with her name and number inscribed on his Medic Alert bracelet: In case of emergency, contact Liz Dunn.

A charming lost soul and a strange visionary, Jeremy upends Liz's quiet existence, triggering a chain of events that take her to the other side of the world and back, endangering her life just as a real chance at happiness finally seems within reach. By turns funny and heartbreaking, Eleanor Rigby is a fast-paced read and a haunting exploration of the ways in which loneliness affects us all.

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"One of the first great novels of the new century." (Kirkus (starred))

"Poignant, funny, intrepidly offbeat…[A] clever, inspired, brilliantly strange tale." (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

"Liz is such a believably, sympathetic narrator that you're gripped all the way." (Marie Claire magazine)

"Coupland can still write a sparkling sentence and a mean epigram." (Entertainment Weekly)

"A mystical meditation on loneliness and solitude." (New York Post)

"[A] heartwarming novel…Coupland has a canny take on everything, and his one-liners zing." (People magazine)

"Coupland has crafted a formidable pop style that hooks up dead-on cultural anthropology with surprising reserves of emotion." (Village Voice)

This tale…is told with abundant wit and a deceptive simplicity." (Boston Globe)

"This anthology offers a fresh perspective." (Publishers Weekly)

"Funny, sometimes even profound, these authors offer an amusing road map to that strange and winding road from bachelorhood to marriage." (Tampa Tribune)

"Men, those freedom-loving buggers, want romance after all." (The Denver Post)

" Eleanor Rigby remains as thoughtful and melancholy as the Beatles song its title evokes."
(The Boston Herald)

"Liz's musings on loneliness have a welcome pungency."
(The New York Times)

"Marvelous…This book is funny and strange, but it's also moving and bittersweet."
(The Los Angeles Times)

"Ever the risk-taker, [Coupland] enters the blandly settled consciousness of a fat, unloved, 50-ish woman with no friends and no life, and makes us believe in her."
(Hartford Courant (CT))

"Coupland's eighth novel…is chock full of the good-natured goofiness we've come to love."
(The News-Press)

"Coupland's writing is a fast river of fresh perceptions and comic dialogue."
(Houston Chronicle)

"Eleanor Rigby is heartfelt and a lightning-quick read, well worth the time and a must for any Coupland fan or any newcomer."
(Buffalo News (New York))

"Strange and inventive."
(USA Today)

From the Back Cover

"This book is funny and strange, but it's also moving and bittersweet... the story's ending proves unexpected yet exactly what you'd hoped: 'Even the most random threads of life always knit together in the end,' Coupland writes, and indeed they do. Eleanor Rigby is the most impressive novel he has written in years. It might prove to be among the best fiction of this new year as well."
Los Angeles Times

"Coupland's ear for the vernacular is solid, and his prose is lean and stripped, making for a fast read.... Coupland moves his story quickly, handling narrative flashbacks with assurance, and gives his plot several screwball twists."
San Francisco Chronicle

"Essentially the story of how a middle-aged spinster finally comes of age, throws off her isolation, and begins living her life, it is told with abundant wit and a deceptive simplicity, courtesy of a sardonic office drone named not Eleanor Rigby (the title is borrowed from a Beatles song about loneliness) but Liz Dunn.... 'Eleanor Rigby' is earnest and warm-hearted, a pleasant landscape dotted with small deposits of profundity. Even as her struggles grow from small and solitary to almost absurdly oversize, Liz's voice remains wonderfully, wittily human."
Boston Globe

"Part of the joy in reading a Coupland book is the wonderful and unexpected way in which the details are meted out and skillfully woven together for the finale. All the same lively with that was apparent in All Families Are Psychotic and Hey Nostradamus! is evident here, and Coupland’s talent for capturing the mundane and sparking recognition among his readers — especially Canucks — is here too."
The Guelph Mercury, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Brantford Expositor

But intricate plot twists aren’t the driving force of a Coupland novel. The true force is embodied here by the most weak-bodied of the book’s characters. Jeremy, through his drug-fuelled visions, offers original ideas about the Earth and how we’re looking after it…. [Coupland’s characters] all still struggling with the big themes of life on Earth; love loneliness, death and how to make sense of the world."
Victoria Times Colonist

"What makes him hit us again and again, as though he were pelting meteorites from on high, is his ability to connect with ordinary human emotions and to make them profound."
ELLE Canada

"Coupland has a canny take on everything, and his oneliners zing because they invoke people you know…you’ll be right there with Liz as she discovers that, with a little push, any of us can find our proper place in the solar system."

There’s a brief moment in Douglas Coupland’s latest novel when he draws the reader’s attention to some peonies, cool and white and beautiful, placed in a room. They’re a fitting flower for a Coupland novel; his latest could rest next to the vase, equally cool and well-arranged."
Quill & Quire

Praise for Hey Nostradamus!:
International Bestseller
A Globe and Mail Best Book of 2003
Named one of the top five novels of 2003 by Quill & Quire

“Tempered with Coupland’s wry wit and acute observations, it adds up to an irresistible read.”

“Coupland has become a master of suspense and pacing. Hey Nostradamus! is a cannily crafted page-turner. . . . an excellent, skilfully written story.”
NOW (Toronto)

“A leap sideways from the acid irony which has shaded some of Coupland’s earlier novels. Instead, from the pen of one of the coolest authors on the planet has come a work of suffusing humanity.”
Sunday Herald (UK)

“Tough, accomplished and subtle, it addresses all the big issues — God, suffering, miracles, family life, why bad things happen to good people — without ever becoming grandiose or pretentious.”
Independent (UK) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Kinda makes you stop and think May 24 2005
Douglas Coupland has done a great job of capturing the feelings and emotions that all of us have experienced in our lifetimes, althoug the primary feeling which the author focuses on is that of loneliness. His description of the how the protagonist feels is written in such a manner that everyone, regardless of their background, will be able to relatee to.
I also enjoyed how Coupland was able to write about the interplay between family members. In reading the interactions between the main character and her mother, sister, and brother, each conversation felt as though it could actually have taken place. These are not phoney characters, designed simply to advance the plot. Rather they come across as real people with feelings and emotions.
In the words of Siskel and Ebert, I give this novel two thumbs up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read. May 22 2013
By Daniel
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is not my favorite Coupland book, but I did find it to be more memorable than some. I enjoyed reading it and am saddened by the fact that I only have a handful of his works left to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the twists and turns in the story! Nov. 28 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found the book extremely riveting and well written. Am looking forward to reading more Douglas Coupland in the future
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