Sunday 26 December 2021

Binge by Douglas Coupland

I just finished reading Binge, by one of my favourite writers, Douglas Coupland. He did not disappoint. 

Thirty years after Douglas Coupland broke the fiction mould and defined a generation with Generation X, he is back with Binge, 60 stories laced with his observational profundity about the way we live and his existential worry about how we should be living: the very things that have made him such an influential and bestselling writer. Not to mention that he can also be really funny. 

Here the narrators vary from story to story as Doug catches what he calls the voice of the people, inspired by the way we write about ourselves and our experiences in online forums. The characters, of course, are Doug's own: crackpots, cranks and sweetie-pies, dad dancers and perpetrators of carbecues. People in the grip of unconscionable urges; lonely people; dying people; silly people. If you love Doug's fiction, this collection is like rain on the desert.

I really enjoyed the stories in this 60 short story collection. Some are funny. Some make you think. Many are connected. There might be a story early in the book, then 10 stories later, comes a story connected, continued or a prequel to it. Most of the time, you don't realize it till the end of the next story. 

Binge is well written, diverse and keeps the reader on their toes. A terrific book.

About Douglas Coupland 

Since 1991 Coupland has written thirteen novels published in most languages. He has written and performed for England’s Royal Shakespeare Company and is a columnist for The Financial Times of London. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, e-flux, DIS and Vice. 

In 2000 Coupland amplified his visual art production and has recently had two separate museum retrospectives, Everything is Anything is Anywhere is Everywhere at the Vancouver Art Gallery, The Royal Ontario Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and Bit Rot at Rotterdam’s Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, and Munich’s Villa Stücke. In 2015 and 2016 Coupland was artist in residence in the Paris Google Cultural Institute. In May 2018 his exhibition on ecology, Vortex, opened at the Vancouver Aquarium. 

Coupland is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy, an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Officer of the Order of British Columbia, a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and receiver of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.

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