HEY NOSTRADAMUS: Coupland, Douglas

HEY NOSTRADAMUS

Coupland, Douglas

Published by Bloomsbury, 2003
ISBN 10: 1582343586 / ISBN 13: 9781582343587
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Description:

First US edition, first prnt. Signed and dated "19/07/03" by Coupland on the title page. Unread copy in Fine condition in a Fine dustjacket with an archival cover. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis:

A powerful, surprising, and deeply moving book.

In 1988, a catastrophic episode of teen violence changes a suburban community forever. Hey Nostradamus! is Douglas Coupland's keenly observant exploration of this tragic landscape.

With unflinching candor and black humor, Hey Nostradamus! follows various voices across two decades: the teenagers whose ordinary preoccupations with sex and spirituality will never evolve past that moment; the parents whose sudden exposure to their children's passionate underground world threatens their deepest convictions; and those who come to know the troubled survivors only later in life, who will only ever have an inkling of what really transpired.

Utterly unexpected, Hey Nostradamus! wrestles with religion and with sorrow and its acceptance. It will take you to a place you didn't know existed.

Review: Considering some of his past subjects--slackers, dot-commers, Hollywood producers--a Columbine-like high school massacre seems like unusual territory for the usually glib Douglas Coupland. Anyone who has read Generation X or Miss Wyoming knows that dryly hip humor, not tragedy, is the Vancouver author's strong suit. But give Coupland credit for twisting his material in strange, unexpected shapes. Coupland begins his seventh novel by transposing the Columbine incident to North Vancouver circa 1988. Narrated by one of the murdered victims, the first part of Hey Nostradamus! is affecting and emotional enough to almost make you forget you're reading a book by the same writer who so accurately characterized a generation in his first book, yet was unable to delineate a convincing character. As Cheryl Anway tells her story, the facts of the Delbrook Senior Secondary student's life--particularly her secret marriage to classmate Jason--provide a very human dimension to the bloody denouement that will change hundreds of lives forever. Rather than moving on to explore the conditions that led to the killings, though, Coupland shifts focus to nearly a dozen years after the event: first to Jason, still shattered by the death of his teenage bride, then to Jason's new girlfriend Heather, and finally to Reg, Jason's narrow-minded, religious father.

Hey Nostradamus! is a very odd book. It's among Coupland's most serious efforts, yet his intent is not entirely clear. Certainly there is no attempt at psychological insight into the killers' motives, and the most developed relationships--those between Jason and Cheryl, and Jason and Reg--seem to have little to do with each other. Nevertheless, it is a Douglas Coupland book, which means imaginatively strange plot developments--as when a psychic, claiming messages from the beyond, tries to extort money from Heather--that compel the reader to see the story to its end. And clever turns of phrase, as usual, are never in short supply, but in Cheryl's section the fate we (and she) know awaits her gives them an added weight: "Math class was x's and y's and I felt trapped inside a repeating dream, staring at these two evil little letters who tormented me with their constant need to balance and be equal with each other," says the deceased narrator. "They should just get married and form a new letter together and put an end to all the nonsense. And then they should have kids." --Shawn Conner, Amazon.ca

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Bibliographic Details

Title: HEY NOSTRADAMUS
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: 1st Edition

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