Review of Life After God


From The Literary Supplement

by Will Eaves

Set in and around Coupland's home town of Vancouver and on the highways of North America, the stories chart a listless landscape of sagging relationships, hungover youth, lost innocence and spiritual inertia. The first-person narrators of these sudden, slight, determinedly slack fictions crave a defining purpose. Soft drinks, pornography, labour-saving utensils and domestic dysfunction have emptied their lives of substance. To ease their California state of mindlessness, they take long car journeys and consume emergency Crap Food; they address Zen-lagged ruminations on vacancy and futility to their silent, presumably long-suffering offspring; but, most importantly, they ask themselves,in accents borrowed from Carver, Coover, Mamet, Leavitt and Easton Ellis, what went wrong? There is still mileage in this kind of wistful banality, but Coupland has neither the skill nor the energy to make it new.