life after God“I was driving you up to Prince George to the home of your grandfather, the golf wino.”

For centuries, religion and faith in an almighty were central factors of the way life worked. Church was important, prayer was necessary, and no one had come along yet that had really had a convincing enough alternative. However, over the last couple of hundred years, and in the last few decades in particular, things have changed. Society is less interested in organised religion and is more enthralled by blockbuster movies and bargain stores. So what happens to us in a world that is now run by Hollywood rather than the holy word? Coupland is back with a few short stories detailing some struggling people.

In these eight short stories, Coupland gives us a collection of nameless narrators, each struggling to cope with loss, loneliness and a lack of emotion. Many of them lament the loss of God from their lives, while others are simply struggling to come to terms with growing up and the modern experience. They’re all seeking out something they’ve lost, or simply trying to escape.

Stories cover a man whose wife has fallen out of love with him, a man lost in the desert trying to hide a stash of illegal steroids, a man who has found himself in a tent in the middle of the forest, and a whole group of people detailing where they were and what they were doing during the end of the world.

Like all of Coupland’s stuff, he’s right on the money with how the world works. He is phenomenally smart and can get some truly profound thoughts out that others can only dream of imagining. As I’ve quoted his work in my other reviews of his books, it would be a shame not to here as well, although narrowing the quotes down to just a few is nigh-on impossible.

“Sometimes you can’t realise you’re in a bad mood until someone else enters your orbit.”

“The only activities I could think of that humans do that have no other animal equivalent were smoking, body-building and writing. That’s not much, considering how special we seem to think we are.”

“…I realized that once people are broken in certain ways they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young, and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older, as you see the people in your life break one by one.”

While this isn’t my favourite Coupland – wasn’t after the first read and still isn’t now – it remains a beautiful, hopeful breath of air and is a vital part of his catalogue. If ever you feel that you life has lost its meaning, read this and you’ll immediately feel less alone.

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