10 March 2010

X marks the spot

This week, Douglas Coupland was the guest on Radio 4's Bookclub, introduced by James Naughtie (which, to me, always sounds like Doherty). Coupland (which Naughtie pronounced "Copeland". I never knew) was chatting about his first novel Generation X (subtitle: Tales For An Accelerated Culture), discussing characterisation and scene-setting, and reading extracts. It was interesting and insightful for a number of reasons, not least because Douglas Coupland is my favourite author, but also because I actually didn't like this particular book when I first read it but I loved it the second time round.

Douglas Coupland's work is great because his prose is so incredibly easy to read yet it's full of deep metaphors and crazy complex ideas. I also really love the way he uses tradenames to give a sense of place and time, so I thought I'd share the part where he described receiving his first copy from his publisher:

"I was living in Montreal - I was living in a basement suite and I was living on hotdogs and oatmeal, I had no income - and the book arrived... And the actual birth moment of any book is when the Fed-Ex box arrives and you open it and like, 'Ah, there's the book!' - and the cover doesn't cover the book and the pages are sticking out by a quarter inch and everything was wrong about it and it was just the worst getting your book experience you could possibly have. It's not like 'Kaboum!'..."

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