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City of Glass: Doug Coupland's Vancouver Paperback – Bargain Price, May 1, 2003
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"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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.'
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Terrific preview for my first visit to city of Vancouver: Made me ache for such a book on every great city, written by a native who loves his hometown so much and has such a... Read morePublished 10 months ago by JS
This book consists of poorly organized vignettes on Vancouver. I was hoping for something that would give me a feel for the city. At best this book provides a shallow picture. Read morePublished on April 13, 2014 by Ian K.
The weakness of traditional tourist or travel guides is that they're good at providing practical information but relatively weak on helping you understand the essence of a place. Read morePublished on February 28, 2010 by Warren Liebold
A humorous, personal portrait of a gorgeous and quirky city. Coupland's narration is funny and dead on. Read morePublished on November 22, 2007 by M. Murphy
Vancouver is great city (at least for a few dry months) and deserve a good book for the visitors. This book meets my needs and is not the typical guide book with maps and names and... Read morePublished on January 9, 2007 by Franklin F. Chen
Imagine following Highway 99 south from Whistler down through West and North Vancouver, across the Second Narrows Bridge, along Boundary Road, crossing into Richmond, picking up... Read morePublished on August 4, 2004 by Penmachine
City of Class made me both miss home and exude incredible pride in Vancouver. Now that the city has won it's 2010 bid, it'll be interesting how the dynamic of the city will change. Read morePublished on September 3, 2003