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City of Glass: Doug Coupland's Vancouver Paperback – Bargain Price, May 1, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is Coupland's attempt -- just in time for the Vancouver Olympics -- to answer the questions visitors always ask about the city he loves, even before they ask them." (Globe & Mail 2009-11-27)

"The renowned Generation X author's humorous take on the area, from its drug culture ad tourist destinations to its people, food and film industry." (Daily Gleaner 2010-02-08)

"Subjective in tone and sexy to look at, City of Glass is a delightfully outlandish travel book -- just the sort of whacked-out guide you wish every was available for every great city in the world." (Globe & Mail 2000-10-14)

"Conversational text swatches are interwoven with brilliant photojournalistic images, giving us a flaneur's-eye-view of Vancouver." (National Post 2000-10-21)

"Here are moments of sparkling insight, and a perceptive reframing of many familiar snapshots of the city, more than enough to make Coupland's tour worthwhile." (Maclean's 2000-11-20) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Douglas Coupland was born on a Canadian Air Force base in Germany and raised in Vancouver, where he still resides. Among his bestselling novels are Generation X, Eleanor Rigby, Microserfs, Hey Nostradamus!, jPod The Gum Thief and Generation A, altogether in print in forty countries. Coupland exhibits his sculpture internationally and has launched furniture collections, consulted for Steven Spielberg, guest-edited Wired magazine and designed a Toronto park. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550548182
  • ASIN: B007BWFSD4
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,913,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book will leave you aching for Vancouver, whether you've been there before or not. I have, but never lived it the way Coupland has. This is more than a travel book; it'll take you into the underside, and the overside, and every side Vancouver has.
Vancouver is lushly fertile and starkly commercial, historical and modern; Vancouver is Every City, with an emergent personality all its own. Until you can get there to see it yourself, buy this book, keep it on your coffee table, and dive with Coupland into his own bizarre Vancouver dreams.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
Sure, it's only one person's view of Vancouver. But at least it's Douglas Coupland's view. In "City of Glass," the author of "All Families Are Psychotic" and "Generation X" strays from fiction to write about his home city. The result is a subdued love ode to Vancouver, peppered with photographs.

Coupland describes Vancouver with many page-long vignettes, sort of like a patchwork quilt: he describes feng shui in Vancouver, Japanese teenagers, a harbour full of sulfur piles, American couples on "love boats," monstrous houses, and the quiet detachment that Vancouver feels from the Rest of Canada. (Which has its own entry -- really!)

Coupland's fiction is generally distinguishable for its contemplative, cynically witty tones. But he drops all that for "City of Glass." Okay, there is a chunk of "Life After God" in the middle, blurry text and pics. And occasionally the transcripts of Coupland's memories remind one of his fiction, seeming sadder and darker.

Most of the time, he sounds fond and reminiscent, as if reliving the memories that come with salmon and fleece. Not to mention funny, such as when describing the confusing disagreements about feng shui (" this space should flowwwwww" or "flow is to be avoided at all costs"). And the photographs are quite good as well, with Coupland taking pictures of the prosaic subjects of his book -- a sleepy-looking Japanese teen, a fleece vest, a boat floating out on a light-filled harbor, a skiier in mid-twist on a sunlit hillside.

"City of Glass" isn't exactly going to make you race to Vancouver, but it will make you appreciate the little hidden facets of the city -- and perhaps make you notice the ones in your own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jurgen Schaub on November 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is my homesick book, my security blanket, my Postcards from Home.
For Vancouverites, it's a source of boosterist pride, a good chuckle at some in-jokes, and perhaps enlightenment on why things are as they are. For people who have moved away, it's a book of memories, recollections of a city of glass and the people who make it. For people who have never been there, it's the tourist guide that talks about things the Lonely Planet won't. It's like having Mr Coupland sitting next to you as you make your way through our city. It's probably as close to an autobiography as he's ever written. The mark of Vancouver is on him as it's on me, and on everyone else who was raised there.
Yeah, I love my hometown.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kaleberg on August 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book presents a charming, personal view of the city of Vancouver, BC, by an author both at home in and in love with his city. It is organized as an alphabet book, but this is just an excuse. Vancouver is a major city on the edge of one of the last great frontiers. It joins the Canadian wilderness and the Pacific Rim. It is a peculiar city of what we in the USA call the "Northwest', both cosmopolitan and local. I've read the book several times, both in Vancouver and at home, and I've enjoyed sharing with the author each time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Luc Dancause on July 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is not a story by D. Coupland but rather short anecdotes about his hometown Vancouver. I found this book very "canadian": he describes a city and its culture that has changed a lot with the past decades. A must read if you are like me an afficionado of Douglas.
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Format: Paperback
City of Glass reminds Vancouverites why we live here, and tells guests why they should visit. It is the book you leave in the guest bedroom to inspire and delight out-of-towners.

It's brochure like quality starts with the books physical form. City of Glass is bright and colorful--reminiscent of a sunny day in the city. Its cover is even colored in the omnipresent green and blue of Vancouver's branding.

The title of the book comes from Vancouver's large number of skyscrapers with glass or mirror fronts. Like the glass of it's title, Coupland's book reflects his personal memories of the city he loves.

Inspired by Japans underground `zines', the book is an illustrated collection of vignettes and reflections on Vancouver. it takes readers on an alphabetical tour, from BC Ferries to YVR. Along the way, Coupland drops a lot of personal observations, historic trivia and often overlooked facts.

The book also includes a report of Coupland's essay, "My Hotel Year," previously published in Life After God. The essay is a nice intermission from the vignettes. It provides readers with a glimpse beyond the glass and into a gritty reality that is also part of Vancouver.

Interspersed throughout the book are some photographs of Vancouver at it's best and pictures of Vancouver, ephemera such as Campbell's soup cans with trilingual Cantonese/English/French labels and a salmon `color fan.'
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