- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Washington Square Press; Original ed. edition (March 1 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671874349
- ISBN-13: 978-0671874346
- Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3.3 x 15.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 318 g
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #148,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Life After God Paperback – Mar 1 1995
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Will Blythe Esquire A revelation...Coupland's most accomplished fiction to date...suffused with a mystery and regret unique in his work.
The New Criterion Coupland's hipster credentials are...impeccable.
About the Author
Douglas Coupland is Canadian, born on a Canadian Air Force base near Baden-Baden, Germany, in 1961. In 1965 his family moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he continues to live and work. Coupland has studied art and design in Vancouver, Canada, Milan, Italy and Sapporo, Japan. His first novel, Generation X, was published in March of 1991. Since then he has published eleven novels and several non-fiction books in 35 languages and most countries on earth. He has written and performed for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, England, and in 2001 resumed his practice as a visual artist, with exhibitions in spaces in North America, Europe, and Asia. 2006 marks the premiere of the feature film Everything's Gone Green, his first story written specifically for the screen and not adapted from any previous work. A TV series (13 one-hour episodes) based on his novel, "jPod" premiered on the CBC in January, 2008.
Top customer reviews
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The book is published as fiction, yet rumors have it that Coupland will admit that it is at least partially autobiographical. It is a collection of recollections, thoughts, memories and drawings by Coupland. It is the recount a man’s life, and as we find out he is telling the story to find out how his life got to where it is. He wants a record for his daughter so that maybe she will understand him better. My favorite of the individual entries is:
"Now -- here is my secret:
I tell it to you with an openness of heart I doubt I shall ever achieve again, so I pray that you are in a quiet room as you hear these words. My secret is that I need God - that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem capable of giving; to help me to be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond able to love." p.359
Every time I pick up this book, I get something more out of it. Sometimes I read it from beginning to end, and then at other times I just pick it up and read at random. This book deals with many of the ‘big’ questions all of us will have to deal with in our lives. Questions like: How do we deal with Loneliness? Anxiety? Failed relationships? How can we find quiet in our lives? It also deals with the question of being raised without a religion or belief system and how, as we age, we end up struggling with spiritual questions.
If you can track down the first edition hardcover it is worth it. It is in a different format and shape. With the dust jacket off, it looks like a prayer book or bible. If you read it without the jacket in public places people will often ask you what you are reading. This was intentional and the shape and design of this book are part of the art of the book, and part of the complexity Coupland has woven into it. The front cover of the hardback also has an outline of a hand, like a tracing of a child’s hand. As we are all reaching out beyond ourselves in search of some greater meaning in life, we are reaching out like a child in search of a parent.
My hat is off to Coupland and this amazing work of art - on all the levels that it is art of the deepest level. Coupland has created a masterpiece that will become a classic, which will survive through the ages.
Coupland explores the concept: "You are the first generation raised without religion." Or more specifically, how human beings (all of which are born with a drive to believe in something -- religion, politics, art) respond to the material-driven world. Meditations on what separates humans from animals, imagining a nuclear explosion and how it would immediately impact the people who die in it, a philosophical bout with depression, and how people respond to their "lives after God."
Disregard the initially off-putting title of the book, because that title really doesn't reflect what the book is about. At the end of one short story, the narrator concludes, "My secret is that I need God." Not the way religious fanatic Dana does, which is more needy and superficial, but rather in a deep and primal way. And Coupland doesn't go overboard trying to explain it to the readers -- he just writes it and lets it sink in.
It has a slightly odd format; the pages are tiny, and the parts of each short story are more like connected vignettes, some only a few sentences long. And it's sprinkled with cute little drawings, like Coupland doodled on his manuscript. (Rain, boxes, computers, matches, and a parakeet with a key in its beak, among others) As in Coupland's other books, there is a sort of unhappy optimism to these stories, and Coupland's musings about how a lack of emphasized God has affected our ability to love and believe.
"Life After God" is not exactly an ordinary book. But it touches very well on hard-to-write-about topics and its messages lingered for a long time in my mind.
As the stories unfold, Coupland comes to the realization that our generation is the first where God and Church played no visible public role in our lives. As a result he cannot help but wonder whether this has affected our generation's capacity to love, or to find meaning that goes deeper than materialism.
Therefore, at its essence, this book raises some troubling questions about the meaning of life and love.
Life After God, however, was a pleasant surprise. Coupland writes it in diary-like format, narrative, and takes the reader around and around the "life" he lives. Much like "Desolation Angels", or really any Kerouac book dealing with finding yourself, and then finding out the world. Try reading it sitting outside on a sunny day; that's the best way.
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