Friday 25 November 2011

Player One - Douglas Coupland

Four people separately find their way to a cocktail bar at Toronto airport.  All four are there for various reason. All four are waiting for their lives to change. Karen is there to meet someone after years of being alone. Rick is the bar man. He is waiting for his life to start over again. Luke has run away from his old life and picked the bar at random. Rachel is there to prove to her family that she is human after all. Their lives do change but not in a way they could ever predict or expect. The fuel crisis hits and all four are stranded as the world outside starts to riot.

I found this to be a very easy read. I was able to read it in a day and still got some studying done. It actually take me back to early Coupland because I did the same with most of those books too. The plot is a little unrealistic. I remember someone saying in a review that they felt that there would be a little more warning when we do run out of fuel. Fuel saving strategies would probably have kicked in on the lead up. I have to say that I agree. However, unrealistic isn't unusual for Coupland. One of my favourites, "All Families Are Psychotic" also had an unlikely scenario and I still loved it. As did "Girlfriend In A Coma".

In the end the fuel crisis was actually only background noise. A way for these characters to come together and to change each others lives. The story of each character was key to the plot. They each represent the everyday in some way. Each of them have everyday problems too. Essentially they are all lonely and are trying to find a way to break down that loneliness. The disaster gives them that chance to discover themselves and each other.

There really isn't much  more I can say about the book other than I very much liked it. Reading it I felt that Coupland was going back to his writing before Jpod. It's the first one he has published since then that I haven't been mildly disappointed with. Overall a good read.


  1. I was waiting for your review since you're a fan of his and would have a different perspective than I had, as a first time reader. Kind of to see if you'd categorise it as one of his better or worse novels.

    So I'll be lookig for his earlier work now.

  2. Ive only read one of Douglas Coupland's book - Generation X? Something like that. I have to admit that I really didn't enjoy it. It's turned me off Coupland but your review of this book makes it seem like it is quite different so perhaps I will give him another go

  3. FBT, I hope you enjoy his earlier books. This one reminds me of those quite a bit. Over all I would say this one sits in the middle of all his books in terms of favourites.

    Becky, I really didn't enjoy Generation X all that much either. Thankfully I had left that one until the end when going through his back list or it might have put me off too. I had to keep in mind that it was his first whilst reading it. Plus I personally don't think it aged well at all. Some books just don't make it when the times move. Does that make sense? I hope you get to enjoy some of his other books.

  4. I have so much Coupland on my TBR but never feel in the mood for it these days. I do like his social commentary on modern life but sometimes the overall plot doesn't work so well.

  5. Hmmm. I do indeed like the kind of book where a bunch of people with different storylines all end up converging. Adding to to-read.

  6. Ellie, I know what you mean. It didn't work in this but it didn't really matter as the plot felt like it was only background noise.

    Reading Rambo, me too. I am always attracted to books which have more than one characters point of view.