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"More than a decade after he coined the term Generation X, Coupland still understands youthful angst."-Playboy
"This book feels like a genuine artifact of the tragedy that swirls at its center."-Baltimore Sun
"Bring along a seatbelt, because Coupland delivers a fast, furious read."-Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A remarkable examination of violence and spirituality ... Heartbreaking and horrifyingly real." -Village Voice
Author Biography: Douglas Coupland was born on a Canadian Armed Forces base in Baden-Söllingen, Germany, on December 30, 1961. He is the author of the novels Miss Wyoming, Generation X, Microserfs, and Girlfriend in a Coma, among others. His most recent books are the novel All Families Are Psychotic and a book of essays and photographs, Souvenir of Canada. He attended Vancouver’s Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, the Hokkaido College of Art and Design in Sapporo, Milan’s Istituto Europeo di Design, and the Japan/America Institute of Management Science in Honolulu and Tokyo. He lives and works in Vancouver as a novelist, designer and visual artist.
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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Posted July 19, 2012
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 15, 2009
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 2, 2009
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 15, 2007
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 itWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 9, 2007
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 3, 2006
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 11, 2004
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 8, 2004
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 8, 2003
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 3, 2003
Posted July 31, 2003
With three (related and yet very diversified) perspectives on an event that forever changed the community and everyone within it, this book encompasses the essence of human emotion. A fourth perspective adds an 'outsider looking in' view that rounds out the book nicely. Though it should be noted that this book is very emotional - easily one that has the power to rip your heart out - please don't shy away from a read that will have you recommending it to friends, as that's exactly the way I found out about this wonderful book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 24, 2003
Once again, the dark humor of the author shines in this quick reading novel. Very easy to relate to all the characters. Leaves you wanting to keep turning the pages, even when the last one is finished. Coupland continues to entertain in his unique style. Only disappointment was his lack of 80's music references that have been part of his style.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 16, 2013
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