Eleanor Rigby

eleanor-rigbyDouglas Coupland

Though I’ve never heard him described as such, I also consider Coupland a magical-realist. Mostly he is known as the darling writer of Gen-X, whatever that may be. Coupland does have a knack for creating wholly believable modern characters. Parents and elders are not omnipotent. They are as lost, confused, poor and as uncertain as their children. His characters have lousy jobs, mediocre relationships, unpleasant but common maladies and dull, trivial lives. However, like a good magical-realist writer, the out-of-the-ordinary intrudes with events and people that don’t fit any category. They change the outlook and lives, not only of the main characters, but of everyone surrounding them. In Eleanor Rigby, Liz Dunn, a dull and lonely accountant, suddenly finds she has another parallel life waiting for her after a man she has never met lists her as his emergency contact. She returns from the hospital, no longer a mundane and trustworthy employee and sibling, but a woman with a past. Lots of strange plot twists, short bursts of Coupland’s own modernist brand of philosophy and his own special brand of happy ending.

Also check out Microserfs and All Families are Psychotic.