read this week

jpod.jpgjpod: a novel, by douglas coupland.

i’ve been a fan of coupland’s writing for a long time. i think i’ve read all his books. my favorites are girlfriend in a coma, and hey, nostradamus.

this is a trippy book. seriously. jpod is a slightly out-of-the-way collection of cubicles at a vancouver-based video game maker. the jpoders — about 6 of ’em — are the quirkiest kind of tech geeks. and coupland somehow reveals all their wonderful weirdness. certainly, there are some stereotypes here — but i almost get the sense he meant it to be that way. there’s crazy (absurd, really) ‘coincidences’ and sub-plots, truly unique peripheral characters (including coupland himself, who — in a fantastically self-mocking way — is a shallow jerk).

here’s what i found ironic — and, again, i’m guessing that coupland intended me to find this ironic (i don’t get the sense that these things are accidental with him): coupland is somewhat universally hated by gen-xers for coining the term gen-x (this is referenced in jpod). really, coupland was the one person primarily responsible for our collective myth that gen-xers are a bunch of cynical, amoral slackers. and though it’s never mentioned directly, these characters are THE MOST cynical, amoral slackers you’ve ever not met. they go beyond ‘is that what gaming tech geeks are really like?’ and into parody.

but, somehow, through crappy marketing department directives, a couple murders, some human trafficking, a weird lesbian commune, a handful of upper-middle-age parents who grow pot, ballroom dancing, a homemade hugging machine, a trip to china, and several other oddities, jpod is a fun read.

3 thoughts on “read this week”

  1. Read some of Coupland in a Contemporary Literature class I took. Can’t say I was a huge fan. But something about geeks sounds interesting (what I do for a living).

  2. i know we’ve talked about Coupland before. i read this as soon as it came out [like all his books]. i laughed so hard… the cameo was perhaps one of the most bizarre and hilarious twists to the story. anyway, just wanted to add my thoughts as a Coupland fan…

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