Douglas Coupland Eleanor Rigby

ISBN 13: 9780679313373

Eleanor Rigby

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9780679313373: Eleanor Rigby
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“The Liz Dunns of this world tend to get married, and then twenty-three months after their wedding and the birth of their first child they establish sensible lower maintenance hairdos that last them forever. Liz Dunns take classes in croissant baking, and would rather chew on soccer balls than deny their children muesli... I am a traitor to my name.”

Liz Dunn is one of the world’s lonely people. She’s in her late thirties and has a boring cubicle job at a communications company, doing work that is only slightly more bearable than the time she spends alone in her depressingly sterile box of a condo. Her whole life, she’s tried to get to the root of her sadness, to figure out what she’s been doing wrong, with little success. But then, one night in 1997, everything changes: while standing in the parking lot of a video store, arms full of sappy movies she’s rented to help her convalesce from oral surgery, she witnesses the passing of the Hale-Bopp comet. For Liz, this streak of light across the sky is a portent of radical change — and for her, radical change means finally accepting her lot: “I realized that my life, while technically adequate, had become all it was ever going to be ... No more trying to control everything — it was now time to go with the flow.” In that moment, and for the first time, Liz feels truly free.

A day after Liz makes the decision to seek peace in her life rather than control, along comes another comet, in the form of a stranger admitted to the local hospital with her name and number inscribed on his MedicAlert bracelet. For the new Liz, the phone call from the hospital feels like “the fulfillment of a prophecy”; the young man, it turns out, is her son, whom she gave up for adoption when she was sixteen. Jeremy shows the scars of his years as a foster child and his most recent drug reaction, but is otherwise beautiful and charming. And when he moves in with Liz to recuperate, it’s as if both of them had been waiting for this moment all their lives.

A lost soul and occasional visionary, Jeremy upends Liz’s quiet existence — shocking her coworkers and family, redecorating her condo, getting her to reevaluate her past and take an active role in her future. But he’s also very ill with multiple sclerosis. Her son’s life-and-death battle induces a spiritual awakening in Liz — then triggers a chain of events that take her to the other side of the world and back, endangering her life just as an unexpected second chance at happiness finally seems within reach.

With Eleanor Rigby, Douglas Coupland has given us a powerful and entertaining portrait of a woman who could be any one of us — someone who thinks it is too late to make anything of her life, who feels defeated by the monotony of her days, yet who also holds within her the potential for monumental change and for great love. When Liz asks, “What happens when things stop being cosmic and become something you can hold in your hand in a very real sense?” she’s not just talking about stray meteors anymore. The excitement of not really knowing the answer is what life’s all about. In the end, Liz discovers that life is no longer a matter of keeping an even keel until you die, or settling for peace and quiet, but of embracing faith and hope and change.

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Review:

Liz Dunn isn't morbid, she's just a lonely woman with a very pragmatic outlook on life. Overweight, underemployed, and living in a nondescript condo with nothing but chocolate pudding in the fridge, she has pretty much given up on anything interesting ever happening to her. Everything changes when she gets an unexpected phone call from a Vancouver hospital and a stranger takes on a very intimate place in her life. From here the plot of Douglas Coupland's Eleanor Rigby skyrockets into a very bizarre world, rife with reverse sing-alongs and apocalyptic visions of frantic farmers. The style and plot paths are very identifiably Coupland--slightly mystical, off-kilter, and very, very smart. Ultimately a novel about the burden of loneliness, Eleanor Rigby takes its characters through strange and sometimes nearly unimaginable predicaments.

Fans of Douglas Coupland's later novels, particularly Hey Nostradamus! and Miss Wyoming, are bound to like Eleanor Rigby. Like many of his novels, the journey is strange and unexpected but you come out at the other end with a snapshot of a sardonic and bizarre but ever-so-slightly hopeful place. --Victoria Griffith

From the Inside Flap:

A novel as compelling as Hey Nostradamus! and as inventive as All Families Are Psychotic, from the internationally bestselling author Douglas Coupland
"All the lonely people, where do they all come from?
The 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 verklempt-o-thon rentals from the video store to get her through her solitary convalescence. Though she is plump, quiet and plain, behind her eyes lurk whole universes, which she has never had the opportunity to express. Then a second comet traverses her life. It appears in the form of a young man dressed up in makeup and fishnet stockings who has her name and number inscribed on his Medic Alert bracelet: In case of emergency, contact Liz Dunn. One phone call can change a life.
The lonely planet, dirty bombs, fundamentalism, the war on terrorism, the unlikely places we find love, the peculiar power of visions: Liz Dunn's quiet existence is upended by them all. Who is more surprised than she, when she stumbles across a true-life happy ending?
Excerpt from "Eleanor Rigby:
"The summer of 1997, Hale-Bopp rode the sky above Hollyburn Mountain every night for weeks on end. Sometimes it was buttery and weak, and sometimes it looked like felt cut with blunt kindergarten scissors -- but not once during those weeks did I ever get used to seeing the damn thing up there. It wasn't natural. Nothing in the sky seems natural to me except the sun and the stars. Even the moon, for lack of better word, is on probation. Why the thing can't just stay full all the time drives me nuts. Crescent? Waxing? Waning? Oh, just make up your mind.

"Fromthe Hardcover edition.

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Douglas Coupland
Published by Random House of Canada Ltd (2004)
ISBN 10: 0679313370 ISBN 13: 9780679313373
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Book Description Random House of Canada Ltd, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0679313370

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