Literature Douglas Coupland Hey Nostradamus!

ISBN 13: 9780007162505

Hey Nostradamus!

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( 16,022 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780007162505: Hey Nostradamus!

GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE Cheryl Anway is 'no longer a part of the world and still not yet a part of what follows'. She was pregnant, but she isn't any longer. The morning she went into school to tell her boyfriend -- well, secret husband, in fact -- Jason that they were going to have a baby was the last morning she spent alive. It was a beautiful day in Vancouver, and the world had seemed 'unbearably pretty' to Cheryl. She was sitting with her girlfriends in the school cafeteria as the gunfire started, and watched the three malcontents, students who had dressed up like duck-hunters, give death to their schoolmates one lunch-hour. Ten years on, Jason is the kind of guy you sometimes see, sitting in his car, staring out in silence at nothing in particular -- with, sometimes, a dog at hand to indicate his ability to sustain a relationship. Meanwhile Jason's father loves what God loves, hates what God hates; while his mother is lost to drink. And Jason moves between black-outs and all-too-clear memories of the school shootings and their aftermath. As Jason moves in and out of his own life, between body and soul, he allows the inimitable Douglas Coupland to give us in Hey Nostradamus! perhaps his most soulful and searching story yet.

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Review:

Considering some of his past subjects--slackers, dot-commers, Hollywood producers--a Columbine-like high school massacre seems like unusual territory for the usually glib Douglas Coupland. Anyone who has read Generation X or Miss Wyoming knows that dryly hip humor, not tragedy, is the Vancouver author's strong suit. But give Coupland credit for twisting his material in strange, unexpected shapes. Coupland begins his seventh novel by transposing the Columbine incident to North Vancouver circa 1988. Narrated by one of the murdered victims, the first part of Hey Nostradamus! is affecting and emotional enough to almost make you forget you're reading a book by the same writer who so accurately characterized a generation in his first book, yet was unable to delineate a convincing character. As Cheryl Anway tells her story, the facts of the Delbrook Senior Secondary student's life--particularly her secret marriage to classmate Jason--provide a very human dimension to the bloody denouement that will change hundreds of lives forever. Rather than moving on to explore the conditions that led to the killings, though, Coupland shifts focus to nearly a dozen years after the event: first to Jason, still shattered by the death of his teenage bride, then to Jason's new girlfriend Heather, and finally to Reg, Jason's narrow-minded, religious father.

Hey Nostradamus! is a very odd book. It's among Coupland's most serious efforts, yet his intent is not entirely clear. Certainly there is no attempt at psychological insight into the killers' motives, and the most developed relationships--those between Jason and Cheryl, and Jason and Reg--seem to have little to do with each other. Nevertheless, it is a Douglas Coupland book, which means imaginatively strange plot developments--as when a psychic, claiming messages from the beyond, tries to extort money from Heather--that compel the reader to see the story to its end. And clever turns of phrase, as usual, are never in short supply, but in Cheryl's section the fate we (and she) know awaits her gives them an added weight: "Math class was x's and y's and I felt trapped inside a repeating dream, staring at these two evil little letters who tormented me with their constant need to balance and be equal with each other," says the deceased narrator. "They should just get married and form a new letter together and put an end to all the nonsense. And then they should have kids." --Shawn Conner, Amazon.ca

From the Publisher:

Praise for All Families Are Psychotic:
"A maestro's ear for dialogue and a deep understanding of humanity...Coupland, once the wise guy of Generation X, has become a wise man."-People
"[Coupland]'s best novel to date." -LA Weekly
"A powerful, redemptive story...written by a 40-year-old who has moved beyond any youthful alienation to an appreciation of the complicated nature of what binds people together."-Miami Herald
"It's an extraordinarily well-written novel with characters you know you shouldn't be liking but do. So real."-Whoopi Goldberg
"[An] unforgettable modern tale of an American family." -Rocky Mountain News

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