The book that I just finished, Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland, was magnificent. For someone like me, who reads three books a week, to really be affected by something, is rare and really a special thing. Yeah, so it could have been 200 pages longer if only Coupland had been bothered to flesh things out a bit more. The characters could have talked more like real people rather than cliches. But the concept - the plot and ideas and questions in the story- was fabulous.
I'm not certain that I've ever finished a book with so many new ideas in my head. I'm not sure that I've ever questioned my own ideals the way I did when I finished Girlfriend in a Coma. It was sort of mindblowing. Beautiful, so sad, but mindblowing.
If you can get your hands on a copy of this book, please do. Read it. Appreciate it. It's only short; it's not complicated or full of obnoxious, pompous language. The questions it poses resonate more soundly now than they could have done when it was published 12 years ago. And they will keep resonating until something is done.
A few of my favourite quotes:
- Destiny is what we work toward. The future doesn't exist yet. Fate is for losers.
- At twenty you know you're not going to be a rock star... by twenty-five you know you're not going to be a dentist or a professional... by thirty, a darkness starts moving in - you wonder if you're ever going to be fulfilled, let alone wealthy or successful... by thirty-five, you know, basically, what you're going to be doing the rest of your life; you become resigned to your fate.
- Nobody believes the identites we've made for ourselves. I feel like everybody in the world is fake now - as though people had true cores once, but hucked them away and replaced them with something more attractive but also hollow.
- If you're not spending every waking moment of your life radically rethinking the nature of the world - if you're not plotting every moment boiling the carcass of the old order - then you're wasting your day.
(P.S. The Smiths song of the same name is also beautiful.)