On the eve of the next Space Shuttle mission, a divided family comes together… Warm, witty and wise, All Families Are Psychotic is Coupland at the very top of his form – hot on the heels of last year’s hugely successful Miss Wyoming (100,000 copies of theTPB and PB sold in the UK to date)
‘You know, this was supposed to be a happy family week that drew us all closer – all that NASA hokum: prayer breakfasts, zodiac boat tours through swamps, a chance encounter with a Kennedy family member… And you wouldn't believe the other astronaut families. They're practically astronauts themselves – shoes buffed like mirrors; too many teeth; half of them are military and talk in barking Navy SEAL voices. They drive me nuts, they're so enthusiastic. Our own family is a disaster.'
In a cheap motel room an hour from Cape Canaveral, Janet Drummond looks at the clock – 7.03 a.m., pill o'clock – takes her capsules, and does a rapid tally of the whereabouts of her three children. Wade has spent the night in jail; suicidal Bryan is due to arrive any moment with his vowel-free girlfriend, Shw; and then there is Sarah, 'an element finer than gold – a bolt of lightning frozen in midflash' – here in Orlando to be the star of Friday's shuttle mission.
But even an all-American astronaut has personal problems, and with Janet's ex-husband and his trophy wife coming to town, Janet has the whole of this sultry Florida morning to contemplate her family, and where it all went wrong. Or did it? 'People are pretty forgiving when it comes to other people's family. The only family that ever horrifies you is your own.'
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In All Families Are Psychotic, Coupland combines Anne Tyler's compassionate command of family relationships with a world-view that probably hails from a distant galaxy. His latest work of genius is fast-paced, blisteringly funny and the literary equivalent of electric-shock therapy.
NASA Astronauts must be the healthiest people on the planet, and Sarah Drummond, preparing for her debut launch from Cape Canaveral, is no exception. Unfortunately, Sarah's family, gathered in Florida to witness the take-off, is sick--in every sense. Her brother Wade, a low-rent hockey star whose only real talent is bedding women, is performing an elaborate tango with terminal illness and the Federal Penitentiary system. Her mother Janet is a devotee of Internet porn and outlawed medication. Then there's Bryan, who has nothing wrong with him except a highly contradictory desire to have children and kill himself. And Bryan's girlfriend, who really is called Shaw, and really doesn't care about much except renting her womb to the highest bidder.
While Sarah patiently prepares for outer space, Wade glimpses a lucrative, if desperate remedy to his family's manifold miseries. And as the countdown begins, the dysfunctional Drummonds--a family who have hitherto been unable to meet up without sustaining gunshot wounds--find themselves united in a last, labyrinthine quest for personal salvation. It's a journey punctuated by medication schedules, peppered with sleazy trailer-parks and even sleazier characters, a Disneyworld scented with dirty money and encroaching death. But somewhere along the way, the Drummonds are about to discover that they're not much different to any other family.
'Coupland takes more risks with tone and plot in this book than I have ever seen. And in a feat of the most astonishing literary chutzpah, he somehow pulls it off. All Families are Psychotic is a unique and wonderful book. The tone is utterly fresh and thrillingly modern. Yet again, Coupland has zeroed in on where we are now. For a social satirist, this is the most vital skill, and it is precisely what Coupland possesses more than any other contemporary writer. Coupland manages to pull off cynical and penetrating social satire without being remotely nihilistic.' William Sutcliffe, Independent on Sunday
'Coupland's last four novels are so good and so distinctive that they seem to me to mark a genuine seismic shift in the literary landscape.' Nicholas Blincoe, New Statesman
'Douglas Coupland is one of the freshest, most exciting voices of the novel… He has a wonderful talent’ tom wolfe
'Coupland has passion and pace, intelligence and wit. If you find anything about the way we live now disturbing and wrong, he is your man. (He is my man.)' Daily Telegraph
'Coupland at his best can make a single phrase say more than many another writer's whole novel.' jenny turner, London Review of Books
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Book Description Pan, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 7117515