Top positive review
43 people found this helpful
on February 25, 2003
I was only recent introduced to Douglas Coupland by a pal of mine who pestered me for months to try his books. Now I'm glad she did. "Life After God" has a somewhat experimental feel to the narrative, but it's a successful experiment if it is.
Coupland explores the concept: "You are the first generation raised without religion." Or more specifically, how human beings (all of which are born with a drive to believe in something -- religion, politics, art) respond to the material-driven world. Meditations on what separates humans from animals, imagining a nuclear explosion and how it would immediately impact the people who die in it, a philosophical bout with depression, and how people respond to their "lives after God."
Disregard the initially off-putting title of the book, because that title really doesn't reflect what the book is about. At the end of one short story, the narrator concludes, "My secret is that I need God." Not the way religious fanatic Dana does, which is more needy and superficial, but rather in a deep and primal way. And Coupland doesn't go overboard trying to explain it to the readers -- he just writes it and lets it sink in.
It has a slightly odd format; the pages are tiny, and the parts of each short story are more like connected vignettes, some only a few sentences long. And it's sprinkled with cute little drawings, like Coupland doodled on his manuscript. (Rain, boxes, computers, matches, and a parakeet with a key in its beak, among others) As in Coupland's other books, there is a sort of unhappy optimism to these stories, and Coupland's musings about how a lack of emphasized God has affected our ability to love and believe.
"Life After God" is not exactly an ordinary book. But it touches very well on hard-to-write-about topics and its messages lingered for a long time in my mind.