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Hey Nostradamus!

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Overview

GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE
GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE

Using the voices of four characters deeply affected by a high-school shooting, though in remarkably different ways, Douglas Coupland explores the lingering aftermath of one horrifying event, and questions what it means to come through grief – and to survive.

The first narrator in Hey Nostradamus! is Cheryl, who is waiting in the Delbrook Senior ...

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Overview

GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE
GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE

Using the voices of four characters deeply affected by a high-school shooting, though in remarkably different ways, Douglas Coupland explores the lingering aftermath of one horrifying event, and questions what it means to come through grief – and to survive.

The first narrator in Hey Nostradamus! is Cheryl, who is waiting in the Delbrook Senior Secondary cafeteria for Jason, to whom she is secretly married. Just that morning, she told him she is pregnant. But before Jason arrives, three younger students wearing combat fatigues storm the cafeteria and open fire on their classmates. Cheryl is the last to be killed. Hiding under a table, she speaks to us from a place between life and death, and tells the story of her relationship with Jason, her conversion to Christianity, and her deep love of God, despite her inability to find meaning in this massacre. Unlike her Youth Alive! classmates and peers, who display a harsh and superficial religious fervour, she has truly embraced her faith. “I may have looked like just another stupid teenage girl, but it was all there – God, and sorrow and its acceptance.”

The second narrator is Cheryl’s widower, Jason, writing an open letter to his brother’s twin sons, telling the story of his life to date and how the shooting has shaped it. It’s eleven years later, and, still haunted by Cheryl’s death, Jason has never been able to pull himself together – he cares little for his work, rarely speaks to anyone, and drinks far too much, too often, in an attempt to kill his pain (or at least not to think about it for a while). Jason also has an uneasy relationship with God, and sees the extreme Christian views of his ultra-conservative father, Reg, as one reason for his inability to succeed at life.

Then Jason meets Heather, who, like him, has a hard time dealing with reality. Together they create a world of their own, and live happily – until one day Jason disappears. It’s now 2002 and Heather, who narrates the third section of the novel diary-style, tells us about her life as a court stenographer, her relationship with Jason, and her growing but uncomfortable friendship with Reg. When she’s contacted by a psychic who claims she’s receiving messages from Jason, Heather is led to the brink of despair and back again to something resembling hope, or at least peace.

Reg narrates the last, and shortest, section of the novel. It’s 2003 and Reg is composing a letter to his missing son. It’s been fifteen years since the high-school massacre, but the effects continue to ripple through the lives of those it touched. Reg has begun to soften and to understand the harm he caused Jason and the rest of their family, and his letter forms a confession of sorts as he tries to be honest about his weaknesses. He is also more honest with himself, about his faith: “You might ask me whether I still believe in God; I do – and maybe not even in the best sense of the word ‘believe.’ In the end, it might boil down to some sort of insurance equation to the effect that it’s three percent easier to believe than not to believe.” But despite this calculating view of God, Reg also still holds out hope, as he sets off to post this letter everywhere his son may see it.

Four distinct characters tell four distinct yet entwined stories, as each tries to find his or her own way. And it is through their post-shooting experiences – their scarring exposure to the media or seemingly unrelated pit stops along life’s path – that Douglas Coupland finds the truer story of our collective need. Instead of following the chain of events leading up to the massacre or dwelling on the teenage killers, Coupland concentrates on its aftermath, its long-term effects. In doing so, he is able to make us really consider what it means to survive, and to continue to believe.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Douglas Coupland’s] focus is always on the moral implications, on human relationships and feelings. There is an almost spiritual aspect to his work that makes it emotionally compelling, and redemption is always at hand to pull his vision back from the brink of apocalypse. But more important perhaps, Coupland can write beautifully.” — Toronto Star

“Coupland, once the wise guy of Generation X, has become a wise man.” — People Magazine

"Fate is the psychological trigger in this often-hilarious novel, and Coupland knows when to trip the emotional safety catch." — Elle Canada

"In Hey Nostradamus!, Coupland takes an insightful look at religion, loss and forgiveness and how everyone is always looking for, as he puts it, the 'equation that makes it all equate.' " — Calgary Herald

“…[I]n Hey Nostradamus!, Coupland has fashioned his most serious and mature novel so far, mixing his youthful, exuberant prose with a certain compassion and restraint we haven’t seen from him before.…The leading literary voice of the most cynical generation lets it all out in a blaze of spirituality, terror, high comedy and soul-searching, and does it all in a way that is caring and clever, heart-breaking and hilarious, tough and tender. Hey Nostradamus! is not only Coupland’s best novel, but also one of the best of the year.” — Hamilton Spectator

“…profoundly topical…[R]eligious angst has never been made so entertaining.” — National Post

“Coupland’s writing is brilliant.” — Canadian Press

“ …[Coupland] gets us thinking about spirituality and the meaning of life, and no matter how bad things get, when you put the book down you can’t help but feel hope, which is a comfort.” — Georgia Straight

“…moving and tenderly beautiful….replete with Coupland’s breathtaking observations on consumer culture.” — Vancouver Sun

Praise for Douglas Coupland:
“The intelligence and humour of Coupland’s prose engages the mind while the unabashed yearning of his characters hooks the heart.” — Maclean’s

Praise for All Families Are Psychotic:
“As rich as an ovenful of fresh-baked brownies and twice as nutty. . . . Everyone with a strange family — that is, everyone with a family — will laugh knowingly at the feuding, conducted with a maestro’s ear for dialogue and a deep understanding of humanity. Coupland, once the wise guy of Generation X, has become a wise man.” — People magazine

“It seemed paradoxical that a writer so revered for his hipness resembles, in practice, nobody so much as Jane Austen.... In the resultant unravelling there isn't a boring page.” — The Literary Review

Praise for Miss Wyoming:
“The intelligence and humour of Coupland’s prose engages the mind while the unabashed yearning of his characters hooks the heart.” — Maclean’s

The Los Angeles Times
It isn't easy for a young writer to be viewed as a spokesman for his generation — even if, as Douglas Coupland did with Generation X, he labeled himself and his demographic cohort. Coupland's latest novel, Hey Nostradamus! proves he's bearing up under this burden just fine. — Michael Harris
The Washington Post
… there's something refreshingly serious about Coupland's dogged interest in the moment when a spirit fallen from grace may finally recover buoyancy. — Meghan O'Rourke
Publishers Weekly
Coupland has long been a genre unto himself, and his latest novel fits the familiar template: earnest sentiment tempered by sardonic humor and sharp cultural observation. The book begins with a Columbine-like shooting at a Vancouver high school, viewed from the dual perspectives of seniors Jason Klaasen and Cheryl Anway. Jason and Cheryl have been secretly married for six weeks, and on the morning of the shooting, Cheryl tells Jason she is pregnant. Their situation is complicated by their startlingly deep religious faith (as Cheryl puts it, "I can't help but wonder if the other girls thought I used God as an excuse to hook up with Jason"), and their increasingly acrimonious relationship with a hard-core Christian group called Youth Alive! After Cheryl is gunned down, Jason manages to stop the shooters, killing one of them. He is first hailed as a hero, but media spin soon casts him in a different light. This is a promising beginning, but the novel unravels when Jason reappears as an adult and begins an odd, stilted relationship with Heather, a quirky court reporter. Jason disappears shortly after their relationship begins, and Heather turns to a psychic named Allison to track him down in a subplot that meanders and flags. Coupland's insight into the claustrophobic world of devout faith is impressive-one of his more unexpected characters is Jason's father, a pious, crusty villain who gradually morphs into a sympathetic figure-but when he extends his spiritual explorations to encompass psychic swindles, the novel loses its focus. Coupland has always been better at comic set pieces than consistent storytelling, and his lack of narrative control is particularly evident here. Noninitiates are unlikely to be seduced, but true believers will relish another plunge into Coupland-world. Author tour. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Coupland's eighth novel begins well enough with the charming, posthumous musings of adolescent Cheryl, briefly and secretly married to her steady, Jason, before she and her unborn child meet random death in a Columbine-style cafeteria massacre. Her widower picks up the narrative a decade later, opining on his lost faith and the death of his brother in a car crash, until he, too, is lost through one of several haphazard plot twists. His snappish girlfriend, Heather, picks up the story with her attempts to reach him in this world or the next before handing the mike to Jason's fundamentalist father, Reg, for the coda. The use of multiple first-person narrators ill befits the sketchily similar characters, who typically serve as mouthpieces for this author's trademark brand of cultural commentary-in this case rather trite meditations on loss, suffering, fate, God, and free will. Coupland's observations show little of the frenetic abandon and cleverness of his antic early works (Generation X, Shampoo Planet), making it hard to sense the point of all this or to enjoy the lack of one. Purchase as needed for diehard fans who haven't yet moved on to Haruki Murakami and Chuck Palahniuk.-David Wright, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A quartet of monologues about the aftermath of a high-school mass shooting. Set in suburban Canada between the late 1980s and now, each of Coupland's four sections here is narrated by a person in some way affected by a 1988 Columbine-like massacre. Setting the shooting that far in the past, years before something of its magnitude became a part of the mediascape, is an odd misstep for Coupland (All Families Are Psychotic, 2001, etc.), who normally has his antenna zoomed-in with radar precision on the Zeitgeist. Cheryl, the subject of section one, had just been secretly married to her boyfriend on the day she was killed in the massacre, and her memories leading up to that day are interspersed with the horrific details of the shooting itself. Then we're introduced to Jason, her husband, who heroically killed one of the shooters but ended up being vilified in the media and seeing his life turn to one of aimless dissolution. The book's last half is made up of a desultory slog through the life of the woman Jason later abandons, then of a brief, beside-the-point coda from Jason's ultrareligious father. There's some excellent material here, especially in the parts detailing the Christian youth group that Cheryl belonged to (an entire novel could have been written on the neurotic, cultlike ostracizing and later the near-deification of Cheryl). As an engine for moving a story along, the massacre at first seems a perfect choice but later feels only like an arbitrary and borderline exploitative excuse to link these stories together. It's not that Coupland can't conceptualize with more significance than is on display here; it's just that he seems not to want to. Cleanly written but lacking steam.Agent: Eric Simonoff/Janklow & Nesbit
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679312703
  • Publisher: Random House of Canada, Limited
  • Publication date: 6/29/2004
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 4.91 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

On Douglas Coupland’s website, there is a photograph from his art installation, Tropical Birds (2003). The installation includes a scene based on the reports of how the cafeteria appeared to rescuers and officials after the massacre at Columbine High School: backpacks strewn across tables and the floor, chairs knocked over, lunches unfinished. The accompanying audio track plays the sounds of birdsong. The piece was born out of rescuers’ comments that the sound of cellphones and pagers ringing in student backpacks – “like birds chirping” – combined with the gush of sprinklers to seem almost surreally tropical. Of course, the horror is that the phones and pagers announced desperate parents trying to reach their children.

The 1999 Columbine massacre was one impetus for Hey Nostradamus!, as it and other events, such as the École Polytechnique shootings and the attacks of 9/11, prompted Coupland to look at how we collectively deal with horror, grief and faith. Even the epigraph for the book, a passage from 1 Corinthians, is taken from a headstone of one of the Columbine victims. Though he did not have a religious upbringing, Coupland considers himself a very religious person, and over the years has found himself more and more interested in exploring questions of God and belief in his work.

Coupland approached writing Hey Nostradamus! like he does all of his novels: as he would an artwork – for him, the media are the same. As he commented in one interview, “What I do know is that there are certain feelings you can create within yourself and within someone engaging with what you’ve done that you can only get from looking at an art object, that you can’t get from words, and vice versa. And I don’t make that many distinctions in my head, I don’t see them as being very different from each other. I entered writing with words quite literally being arts supplies as objects, through Jenny Holzer and text art, and then the text art became long-form fiction, so in my head, I think of the new book, or the new novel, as being an art exhibition, and it’s different from the books that came before it.”

In fact, Coupland originally set out to be a designer and artist, in the conventional sense. He graduated from the sculpture program at Vancouver’s Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1984, then attended the European Design Institute in Milan, Italy, and the Hokkaido College of Art and Design in Sapporo, Japan. In 1986, he completed a two-year course in Japanese business science along with fine art and industrial design. After taking on writing projects over the years, Coupland happened upon fame as a novelist when his first book, Generation X (1991), achieved unexpected and meteoric success. Since then he has published fourteen books of fiction and non-fiction, including the novels Microserfs (1995), Miss Wyoming (1999) and All Families Are Psychotic (2001), and the bestselling cultural explorations City of Glass (2000), Souvenir of Canada (2002) and Souvenir of Canada 2 (2004). In all, his work has been translated into 22 languages and published in 30 countries.

Douglas Coupland writes because it is something he simply loves to do. “What I found over the years is that since 1991 we’ve been through massive cultural, social, technological changes, and the only thing that protects me or you or anyone, the only thing that can protect you in all this is figuring out what it is that you like to do, and then sticking with it. Because once you start to do what people expect you to do, or what your parents think you should do, or whoever in your life thinks you should do, you’re sunk.” However, when one interviewer commented on his seemingly prolific writing career, Coupland disagreed. “I’m not the least bit prolific,” he responded. “I look at people with hard jobs and kids, and to me they’re the ones who are fantastically prolific.”

Though he was born on a Canadian Armed Forces base in Baden-Söllingen, Germany, in 1961, Douglas Coupland has made the Vancouver area his home since the age of four, and can hardly imagine living anywhere else. He currently lives in West Vancouver, in a Ron Thon-designed house, where he works as a writer, designer and visual artist. His art has recently appeared in San Francisco, Milan and Vancouver, and will be featured in upcoming shows in Toronto, London and Montreal. He has won two Canadian National Awards for Excellence in Industrial Design, and Hey Nostradamus! was nominated for the 2004 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Canada & Caribbean) and won the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction.

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Read an Excerpt

Part One
1998: Cheryl

I believe that what separates humanity from everything else in this world — spaghetti, binder paper, deep-sea creatures, edelweiss and Mount McKinley — is that humanity alone has the capacity at any given moment to commit all possible sins. Even those of us who try to live a good and true life remain as far away from grace as the Hillside Strangler or any demon who ever tried to poison the village well. What happened that morning only confirms this.

It was a glorious fall morning. The sun burned a girly pink over the mountain ranges to the west, and the city had yet to generate its daily smog blanket. Before driving to school in my little white Chevette, I went into the living room and used my father's telescope to look down at the harbor, as smooth as mercury, and on its surface I could see the moon dimming over East Vancouver. And then I looked up into the real sky and saw the moon on the cusp of being over-powered by the sun.

My parents had already gone to work, and my brother, Chris, had left for swim team hours before. The house was quiet — not even a clock ticking — and as I opened the front door, I looked back and saw some gloves and unopened letters on the front hallway desk. Beyond them, on the living room's gold carpet, were some discount warehouse sofas and a lamp on a side table that we never used because the light bulb always popped when we switched it on. It was lovely, all that silence and all that calm order, and I thought how lucky I was to have had a good home. And then I turned and walked outside. I was already a bit late, but I was in no hurry.

Normally I used the garage door, but today I wanted a touch of formality. I had thought that this morning would be my last truly innocent glance at my childhood home — not because of what really ended up happening, but because of another, smaller drama that was supposed to have unfolded.

I'm glad that the day was as quiet and as average as it was. The air was see-your-breath chilly, and the front lawn was crunchy with frost, as though each blade had been batter fried. The brilliant blue and black Steller's jays were raucous and clearly up to no good on the eaves trough, and because of the frost, the leaves on the Japanese maples had been converted into stained-glass shards. The world was unbearably pretty, and it continued being so all the way down the mountain to school. I felt slightly high because of the beauty, and the inside of my head tickled. I wondered if this is how artists go through life, with all of its sensations tickling their craniums like a peacock feather.

*
• *
I was the last to park in the school's lot. That's always such an uneasy feeling no matter how together you think you are — being the last person there, wherever there may be.

I was carrying four large binders and some textbooks, and when I tried shutting the Chevette's door, it wouldn't close properly. I tried slamming it with my hip, but that didn't work; it only made the books spray all over the pavement. But I didn't get upset.

Inside the school, classes were already in session and the hallways were as silent as the inside of my house, and I thought to myself, What a day for silence.

I needed to go to my locker before class, and as I was working my combination lock, Jason came up from behind.

"Boo."

"Jason — don't do that. Why aren't you in class?"

"I saw you parking, so I left."

"You just walked out?"

"Forget about that, Miss Priss. Why were you being so weird on the phone last night?"

"I was being weird?"

"Jesus, Cheryl — don't act like your airhead friends."

"Anything else?"

"Yes. You're my wife, so act like it."

"How should I be acting, then?"

"Cheryl, look: in God's eyes we're not two individuals, okay? We're one unit now. So if you dick around with me, then you're only dicking around with yourself."

And Jason was right. We were married — had been for about six weeks at that point — but we were the only ones who knew it.

*
• *

I was late for school because I'd wanted everyone out of the house before I used a home pregnancy test. I was quite calm about it — I was a married woman, and shame wasn't a factor. My period was three weeks late, and facts were facts.

Instead of the downstairs bathroom I shared with my brother, I used the guest bathroom upstairs. The guest bathroom felt one notch more medical, one notch less tinged by personal history — less accusatory, to be honest. And the olive fixtures and foil wallpaper patterned with brown bamboo looked swampy and dank when compared to the test's scientific white-and-blue box. And there's not much more to say, except that fifteen minutes later I was officially pregnant and I was late for math class.

*
• *

"Jesus, Cheryl . . ."

"Jason, don't curse. You can swear, but don't curse."

"Pregnant?"

I was quiet.

"You're sure?"

"I'm late for math class. Aren't you even happy?"

A student walked by, maybe en route to see the principal.

Jason squinted like he had dust in his eyes. "Yeah — well, of course — sure I am."

I said, "Let's talk about it at homeroom break."

"I can't. I'm helping Coach do setup for the Junior A team. I promised him ages ago. Lunchtime then. In the cafeteria."

I kissed him on his forehead. It was soft, like antlers I'd once touched on a petting zoo buck. "Okay. I'll see you there."

He kissed me in return and I went to math class.

*
• *

I was on the yearbook staff, so I can be precise here. Delbrook Senior Secondary is a school of 1,106 students located about a five-minute walk north of the Trans-Canada Highway, up the algae-green slope of Vancouver's North Shore. It opened in the fall of 1962, and by 1988, my senior year, its graduates numbered about thirty-four thousand. During high school, most of them were nice enough kids who'd mow lawns and baby-sit and get drunk on Friday nights and maybe wreck a car or smash a fist through a basement wall, not even knowing why they'd done it, only that it had to happen. Most of them grew up in rectangular postwar homes that by 1988 were called tear-downs by the local real estate agents. Nice lots. Nice trees and vines. Nice views.

As far as I could tell, Jason and I were the only married students ever to have attended Delbrook. It wasn't a neighborhood that married young. It was neither religious nor irreligious, although back in eleventh-grade English class I did a tally of the twenty-six students therein: five abortions, three dope dealers, two total sluts, and one perpetual juvenile delinquent. I think that's what softened me up for conversion: I didn't want to inhabit that kind of moral world. Was I a snob? Was I a hypocrite? And who was I to even judge? Truth be told, I wanted everything those kids had, but I wanted it by playing the game correctly. This meant legally and religiously and — this is the part that was maybe wrong — I wanted to outsmart the world. I had, and continue to have, a nagging suspicion that I used the system simply to get what I wanted. Religion included. Does that cancel out whatever goodness I might have inside me?

Jason was right: Miss Priss.

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Table of Contents

1988: Cheryl 1
1999: Jason 43
2002: Heather 147
2003: Reg 229
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Reading Group Guide

1. Discuss Cheryl’s description of the events in the cafeteria. Does her step-by-step account and her sense of calm make the actions of the young shooters seem more or less real? Is there immediacy here, or distance?

2. Which of the novel’s four narrative voices did you connect with the most? Which the least?

3. One reviewer has written that Cheryl is among the most “spiritually mature” characters in this novel. What do you think?

4. How did the time span of the novel (about 15 years) affect your view of the characters, and the event that set this story in motion?

5. Some reviewers have suggested that this is Douglas Coupland’s most spiritual book to date. Through his characters’ struggles with belief, is Douglas Coupland being supportive or critical of the Christian faith? Or a bit of both? Compare the different approaches to faith shown by the four main characters.

6. Discuss the epigraph from 1 Corinthians that appears at the start of the book. What is Coupland saying about hope and redemption in this novel? Are any of his characters redeemed? Ultimately, what forms does hope take in their lives?

7. Jason’s narrative exists in the form of an open letter to his brother Kent’s twin sons. Heather begins writing her story directly into official court transcripts at work. Reg posts thousands of copies of his narrative in the forest near Chilliwack. Discuss the importance of writing and correspondence in this novel. What might Coupland be saying about the act of writing in general, or about how we as a society deal with grief? Consider also the letters Jason receives from Cheryl’s family, the various letters to God that Cheryl begins composing in her head, and even the list that Jason leaves with the psychic.

8. The title of this book comes from Jason’s reaction to his mother’s “Nostradamus kick” after the massacre, as she searches the astrologer’s prophecies for some sign of it (page 91). Do you think the title fits the book? Why or why not? Discuss how foreseeing the future might relate to this novel.

9. What kind of a person is Heather? What is it about her that appeals to Jason, and allows Reg to open up to her – or perhaps even change?

10. How did your memories of school shootings like those at Columbine and the École Polytechnique affect your reading of this novel? Has Hey Nostradamus! changed the way you think about such horrific events and their aftermath?

11. Cheryl tells us that her conversion took place in her backyard as she sat surrounded by huckleberry bushes, experiencing the smells of warm cedar and dry fir. “The moment made me feel special, and yet, nothing makes a person less special than conversion – it… universalizes you.” Discuss the association of spirituality with the natural world in Hey Nostradamus!

12. Did your opinion of Reg change by the end of the book? Why or why not?

13. Jason tells us that a few celebrities emerged from the massacre: himself, first vilified, then cleared; Cheryl, whose GOD IS NOWHERE/GOD IS NOW HERE note was widely reported as miraculous; and the shooter who repented, only to be shot by the other two. What is Coupland saying about our need to find heroes and villains in such situations? And what is the media’s role in feeding, or creating, this need?

14. While reading, how did you feel about Coupland’s use of humour in the novel? Did it seem out of place at any point, considering the subject matter? Or did it seem to grow naturally out of his characters’ reactions to their experiences? Is embracing the humour, or everyday-ness, of difficult events sometimes the only way to make it through them?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2014

    Ben

    He steps out of the shadows hey

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2014

    Jackson

    Walks around

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2014

    The girl

    She jumps and screams. Who are you! She said her curves poking through her tank top and a.zz shorts

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2014

    ZenClan

    Aprentice den, nursery, and elder den.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Kaitlyn

    U have been here all day.... i checked all day and u werent here dont lie to me!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2013

    Ree

    Suree imma die a slow n pqinful death right now so *walks in room locking myself in n cuts

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Clayton

    I love u

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2012

    Gay book

    * YAWNS*

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2012

    Ember

    A girl sits on the couch

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    Fantastic

    This was an amazing book. I think that the synopsis given doesnt quite touch on the most vital parts of the book. While it is about a school masacre it touches on your emotions and the religious struggles people have after experiencing grief. A novel with insight on death and characters with voices that ring true. Just fantastic.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Extremely amazing.

    An outstanding piece of work. It's a well written page turner. Two of the major themes in the book are loss and religion and how they seem to go hand in hand. This book would be very good to use when writing a literary analysis.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Well written. . .

    Douglas Coupland is an amazing writer and Hey Nostradamus! is more proof of his greatness. This book touches upon many different aspects of life, ranging from tragedy, false accusations, religious fanatics and hypocrites. I especially enjoyed the multiple character approach to telling the story, it makes the book well-rounded. Hey Nostradamus! is a powerful and encompassing book. Coupland always delivers well-written books that are deserving of the readers' time and money. Hey Nostradamus! is a fine piece of literature.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2007

    A reviewer

    I love this book very much, it was major a page turner. I wish that he only wrote aobut Cheryl and Jason, I think that it would have been alot better. It was a great, sad, interging stroy. LOved it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2007

    Not the best...

    By reading the back of the book, you get a sense of drama and excitement, probably thinking something like,'Oh, gosh! This book will be so good'! However after reading the book, you get a sense of disappointment. The characters, each with their own narrative, seem to be the same person there is no depth to each one. There is basically no plot, just a bunch of poetic lines put together. Coupland gives all his effort into making the story a sincere and heart-breaking tale, but fails.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2006

    Engaging and Enlightening - The Best Book I've Read In a Long Time

    Hey Nostradamus! was truly amazing. Not only was Coupland's writing poetic and moving, but the characters were so believable, the emotions so real. I would recommend this book to anyone. So if you're interested enough to browse these reviews, trust me--and the other customer reviewers--and read Hey Nostradamus!. You won't regret it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2004

    He does it Again!!!!!

    I have read all of Coupland's books and this reads to me as the natural extension of his unparelled use of syntax and language. His ability to combine words is so profound that you can not only relate to his characters but actually hear their voices and experience their being. I simply cannot wait to see what he will write next. He just gets better with each book and he is without a doubt the best author of his time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2004

    Brilliant

    Its not an explainable plot. Its a book thats has a rapidly changing plot. Amazing how Coupland explained the menatlity of the charactors thoughts after something so mentally disrupting to a human. I dont think very many authors could pull of what he did. Its almost like and epic poem in the sense of how he worded sentences. Its as if at least 95% of all his sentences in Hey Nostradamus! had symbolic meaning to them. The book starts out with new and beutiful day to simplying a crash of chaos. Then the survivors having what seems to be an inncurable depression. And I could almost feel what they felt, a true sadness. The book then takes you to a bigger event until the end where it leaves you with a sense of hope, and a good feeling that everything has the potential to turn out just right, if you have some spirit left. I recomend this to anyone who is not close minded and really let the word take you away. I dont read too terribly much but I think this book is one of a kind.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2003

    5 stars don't do it justice

    Easily the best writer in modern fiction, Coupland continues to write as if he invented the english language, making you wonder why others bother with books at all. It only took me until the second page to realize that he just has this way with words, and by the end he managed to give dimensions to charaters that you wouldn't have dreamt they could posess. Again, as in Shampoo Planet, Life After God and Microserfs he manages to rip out your heart and leave you in tears. No-one else can do this, no one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2003

    Superb--The best of all books

    Not a dull paragraph in the whole book. No wasted verbage. Very thought provoking

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews

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