Hey Nostradamus! Hardcover – 2003
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GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE Cheryl Anway is 'no longer a part of the world and still not yet a part of what follows'. She was pregnant, but she isn't any longer. The morning she went into school to tell her boyfriend -- well, secret husband, in fact -- Jason that they were going to have a baby was the last morning she spent alive. It was a beautiful day in Vancouver, and the world had seemed 'unbearably pretty' to Cheryl. She was sitting with her girlfriends in the school cafeteria as the gunfire started, and watched the three malcontents, students who had dressed up like duck-hunters, give death to their schoolmates one lunch-hour. Ten years on, Jason is the kind of guy you sometimes see, sitting in his car, staring out in silence at nothing in particular -- with, sometimes, a dog at hand to indicate his ability to sustain a relationship. Meanwhile Jason's father loves what God loves, hates what God hates; while his mother is lost to drink. And Jason moves between black-outs and all-too-clear memories of the school shootings and their aftermath. As Jason moves in and out of his own life, between body and soul, he allows the inimitable Douglas Coupland to give us in Hey Nostradamus! perhaps his most soulful and searching story yet.
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Top Customer Reviews
Nevertheless, I remain drawn to the novels of Douglas Coupland, who like me is from Vancouver. That despite his being an extreme example of "write what you know"--his characters are pretty much all young, white, and middle class; they live in the Western United States or just across the border in Canada; when they travel, they go to Vegas or Oregon or Seattle, never to Alberta or New York (forget about Japan or Madagascar); they all talk and think in some variation of semi-ironic, simile-heavy, pop-referencing Coupland-speak; their themes are sudden loss, pointless death, loneliness, running away, and vague dread, even from the afterlife; their tales often start strong and then slowly vaporize rather than coming to a strong conclusion. Clanking devices indeed.
Somehow, though, I don't care. His novels are better than his non-fiction, which (while entertaining) feels dashed-off, undisciplined, and improperly researched. In fiction, he takes advantage of those same tendencies to write with a strange propulsion, even when his characters are doing nothing but sitting and thinking. The stories are short but dense. His eye for detail evokes the true feelings of a place. Even his weakest books, such as "Shampoo Planet," "Girlfriend in a Coma," and "Miss Wyoming," have something to say, although neither the reader nor the writer might know exactly what that is.
"Hey Nostradamus!," from 2003, is an extreme example.Read more ›
The novel told through the eyes of four people, and each person was strongly impacted by the narrator before him or her. The story begins with two high school sweethearts, Cheryl and Jason, who love each other immensely and get secretly married (both because they love each other and because they want to have sex without committing a sin).Read more ›
By the time the novel reaches its fourth segment, it has morphed into a completely different tale than what is expected from the beginning. The transitions can be jarring, but then, so can life itself.
I found myself sympathizing with each character as he or she took hold of the story, despite the fact that they were each capable of some pretty horrible or foolish acts. The moral flaws of the individual characters don't seem to matter though. It's the rest of the world that's a mess, and they're just trying to get through it.
It is written from four seperate points of view, stretching in time from 1988 to 2003. Each character brings something new to the table in terms of angle and perspective, and helps to give the reader a well defined picture of the characters.
Spiritually speaking, all the characters have different beleifs and concepts of faith raging from Jason's (the novel's main character) antediluvian father Reg to the religiously disinterested Heather, who herself claims to be "weak on religion". It is through these religious differences that Coupland focuses on interpersonal relationships, a common theme of his and ultimately what the book falls back upon. He paints a strong, rather emotional, picture of how religious persuasions can influence and be influenced by, major events in our lives.
The book is certainly well written, Coupland is no doubt one of the better pop writers of the time, although it did leave me wanting a little more. Whilst the subject matter is rather emotional, I was expecting to be a little more overwhlemed by the book, quite possibly a flaw in my expectations rather than the novel itself. Having said that, it is a highly engaging book that will entertain you and make you think, if not about your own beliefs, then about how you consider other people's.
Most recent customer reviews
While I enjoy Coupland's work and respect his vision, I often find his writing fails to touch me on an emotional level. This book is the exception. Read morePublished on Sept. 17 2007 by Amazon Customer
Upon reading the first few pages of this book, I had no idea what to expect... and the more I read, the more I had no idea what would follow... Read morePublished on Nov. 2 2006 by Natalie R. Dinn
This book was anything but boring. I always enjoy the unique writing-style of Douglas Coupland. He has never disappointed me. Read morePublished on July 7 2004 by Victoria Taylor Murray
I thought this book was a return to form for Coupland as many of the other reviewer's here have mentioned. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2004 by Amazon Customer
Well, Hmm...I just finished this novel and I'm not sure what I thought. I didn't like a lot, but I certainly didn't dislike it. Read morePublished on Dec 28 2003 by Robert Wellen
Coupland has once again produced a strong story, with an element of the surreal creeping in. Whereas "All Families are Psychotic" had a number of surreal strands that... Read morePublished on Dec 22 2003 by Paul Donovan