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Eleanor Rigby Paperback – May 30 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 249 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Pub Plc USA; Reprint edition (May 30 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582346437
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582346434
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 20.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #455,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Coupland…writes a sparkling sentence and a mean epigram.” ―Entertainment Weekly

“Coupland has crafted a formidable pop style that hooks up dead-on cultural anthropology with surprising reserves of emotion…What's remarkable is how easy it is for even the best adjusted among us to see ourselves in Coupland's compassionate (and occasionally madcap) portrait.” ―Village Voice

“Told with abundant wit and a deceptive simplicity.” ―Boston Globe

“Coupland's weirdest and most accomplished work to date…could be one of the first great novels of the new century.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Poignant, funny, intrepidly offbeat…[a] clever, inspired, brilliantly strange tale.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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)

From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 5 2005
Format: Paperback
The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" is a melancholy song about lonely people, isolated in the world. The same could be said of Douglas Coupland's writing -- particularly this book, "Eleanor Rigby," a look at mortality and loneliness. It's not his finest or most insightful, but it has wit and heart.

Middle-aged Liz Dunn is crabby, lonely and fat. After dental surgery, she seals herself in her apartment with a stack of sad movies, until she receives a shocking phone call. A young man ODed and ended up in the hospital -- and he claims to her son, the result of a drunken tryst when she was only a teenager in Rome. For the first time, Liz finds herself actually having to be a mom.

As if that weren't enough of a shock, Jeremy is also dying of multiple schlerosis. But he is also chipper and upbeat, unwilling to let his impending death get him down. The mother and son start to get to know each other, with the bittersweet knowledge that whatever bond they form is temporary. But Jeremy's mere presence is enough to change Liz forever.

Yeah, it sounds like a Lifetime tear-jerker. Fortunately, Douglas Coupland is able to yank the seemingly ordinary plot up by its acid-wit shoestrings. He isn't exactly known for his chipper outlook on life, but there's a certain poignant optimism to this novel. Its most memorable line is "Death without the possibility of changing the world was the same as a life that never was," challenging the bleak life that Liz is living, and defining the too-short life her son had.

At times, Coupland seems a bit too flip about Jeremy's M.S. Maybe that humor keeps the book from becoming morbid. The tone is also intimate than his prior books, since it focuses mainly on two people. His smooth, stripped-down writing style is intact, along with dry witticisms.
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I borrowed a copy of Eleanor Rigby from my friend and loved it so much I needed my own copy. Though, I'm pretty picky when it comes to the cover: I thought the one I was reading had a cover that didn't match the story at all and I looked for another one and there I found it. I knew immediately that it was the perfect cover for this hilarious, creative, ironic and sensible story.

I recommend this book to anyone feeling a bit under the weather: there's always someone more miserable than you and they still manage to make you laugh and smile and you'll see your life with a totally new perspective.
I adored this novel and I'm pretty sure I'll read it again...
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