Profits of doom non-fiction (Excerpt)


From The Times of London (May 15, 1999)

by Francis Gilbert

Whether your approach to the millennium is apocalyptic or just plain practical, the publishing houses have got it covered. Forget the soothsayers and follow Francis Gilbert's guide to the best books

For me, though, the best millennium novel is Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland (Flamingo, Pounds 6.99), a disturbing, thought- provoking and moving novel by the author of Generation X. One night in 1979, after making love for the first time, high school senior Karen Ann McNeil tells her boyfriend about the dark dreams she has been having; bleak visions of a crumbling future world. Two hours later she descends into a coma, hoping to sleep for a thousand years to avoid the apocalypse she has envisaged. In the late Nineties she re-awakes to find that her visions are beginning to come true.

Girlfriend in a Coma has something of the quality of a fairytale - a conscious updating of Rip Van Winkle - but it contains a sharp realism that makes the book scarily contemporary. If you only buy one millennium novel, make it this one.