Monday, May 12, 2008
The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland.
While I enjoyed some of the images,reflections and wordplay I dont think this is one of the authors better efforts.
It seems he's just tinkered with his original successful style.Changed the setting from a modern cutting edge workplace to a more mundane stationery and office supply superstore.Increased the ages of some of his characters.
The storyline revolves loosely around the notebook diary entries of a middle-aged employee and his younger female co-worker.Its a pretty loose conceit because both the male characters ex-wife and the female co-workers mum also get in on the act and have their own entries and written accounts.
The novel felt lighter and less well constructed than some of his earlier works.As proof I offer the "Mr Rant" character to support my claim.He appears to be nothing more than a series of one-liners.A stand up comedian.Admittedly pretty funny ones.But still is it possible for one individual to hold views and opinions on such diverse things as potato skins,people who dislike using mircowave ovens and those who whistle tunelessly?Nothing more than a series of humorous asides the author wanted to include in the book but had no other way of doing.
That said,as stated above I was amused by some of his thoughts on family,relationships and getting older.All subjects that appear in earlier novels.It seems though there was more written about the issue of ageing than in other offerings.The idea that after a certain age one becomes virtually invisible.Not an original idea but one he develops ..."The fact that they dont see me means that Im truly old,and its hard to grow old in a place-a city-where everything is so young.Being old means no sex.Being old means never being flirted with"pg37.
The problem I have recommending this book is that there arent enough such insights.In the end the author seems to be coasting and treading water with this work.