Thursday, August 30, 2007

on Douglas Coupland

So I started reading this advance copy of The Gum Thief, Douglas Coupland's latest novel. Coupland's novels have this tendency to get in my headspace and fuck around a bit. That is to say there's a certain naked honesty in his characters that I really relate to, sometimes a little too closely and when that happens all I can think is, "Get out of my noggin, Coupland!" That being said he's still one of my favorite authors because he's one of the few that gets me to reflect deeply on my life, my thoughts, my motivations. Sometimes I suppose that's a good thing, and other times not so much.

So anyway, I started reading this book, and mind you it's been 2 or 3 years since I've read anything by him as I somehow missed his last novel (JPod, which incidentally one of my coworkers has lent me to read when I'm done with The Gum Thief) so the impact his books have on me had faded with time, maybe to the point of growing sepia tones around the edges. But within the first page or two I'm thinking, "Awww, Bloody Hell, he's doing it again!"

Oh and he's Canuck so I have to give him props for that.

Ever read/watch/experience anything like that? Where you know by looking at a work of art, listening to a piece of music, watching a special film, or reading a book that the creator of that work-- whatever that work may be-- was/is operating on the exact same wavelength? I mean beyond the point of merely being able to relate to something-- the point where you relate so closely to something it's either uncomfortable because it hits too close to home or it's extremely comforting because you know you aren't alone in thinking/feeling/acting in that particular way?

6 comments:

Snooze said...

I love your point that finding an author we agree with can be so comforting. I felt that way when I read Camus' The Outsider in high school.

The Phoenix said...

I have not felt that intimate with any piece of art. I felt like I understood or could relate, but never felt as you described.

Although in Superman III, I could felt close to Richard Pryor's character.

Perplexio said...

Snooze: I read Camus' The Outsider/The Stranger myself but I really couldn't or didn't relate to it. In high school the literary character I most closely related to was Gene in John Knowles, A Separate Peace.

Phoenix: Generally I feel more connected to books, movies, or music than I do to works of art. The exception is the work of Edward Hopper. He painted solitude very beautifully and in such a way that it often feels more like a blessing than a curse. As for Richard Pryor's character in Superman III-- he was one of the few redeeming qualities of that film, that and the scene where the "evil" Superman tries to beat up Clark Kent and each time Clark comes back stronger and stronger until he beats the evil Superman, tears his shirt open and reveals he's the REAL Superman... And the evil Superman resulting from Pryor using Nicotine to replace the "unknown" substance that makes up Kryptonite was a not so subtle slam of the tobacco industry.

Dantallion said...

Yes's 'Awaken' off of Going for the One

Perplexio said...

dantallion: When it comes to music the list of songs that elicit an emotional connection with/response to is much longer than the list of books, films, or works of art that I feel a connection to. As for Awaken, I'm not familiar with that track. I'm not a huge Yes fan though (I love the Drama album but that's about it) so that would explain my lack of familiarity with that track. I know it's sacrilege for a fan of prog not to be a fan of Yes, but my musical proclivities have always lent me more to being a fan of classic Genesis than to Yes.

Dantallion said...

Actually, your predispostion towards classic Genesis over YES is not uncommon. YES music is sometimes a little less accessible than it's Genesis and Pink Floyd counterparts (both of which I love as well) - which is one of the reasons I like YES so much, I think. Unfortunately, that accessibilty factor has often meant that people have missed out on some flashes of truly brilliant musicianship. Awaken has been described by some critics as a "perfect piece of prog rock". It's incredible to see live.