Player One | Douglas Coupland

This book started off very promising.

I’ve read almost everything Coupland’s written—certainly all his fiction. Like an band that’s been around for a few decades, he’s become a bit predictable. I keep reading him for the flashes of penetrating cultural insight he manages to describe so perfectly.

Player One started off with a string of metaphors that only Coupland’s mind can produce. Here’s an example:

Warren — her highly anticipated date — is wearing the bland politician’s smile of someone who knows that the bodies in the car trunk are, indeed, dead.

Unfortunately, after the second chapter, the characters started to feel like all the other characters in Coupland’s Novels. The moment that turned the book for me was when he used a long sentence from a previous work verbatim:

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.

It’s a fantastic sentence … the first time you read it. Coming from the mouth of a second character in an unrelated book is just a little sad.

I’m not sure if Coupland will be able to extract himself from the role he’s typecast himself in. Right now he’s like REM and U2. A brilliant world-altering artist who needs to explore a new direction.

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