Player One

Player One

What Is to Become of Us : A Novel in Five Hours

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
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In his 2010 CBC Massey Lectures acclaimed novelist and visual artist Douglas Coupland explores the modern crises of time, human identity, society, religion and macroeconomics and the afterlife in the form of a novel, a 5-hour story set in an airport cocktail lounge during a global disaster.

Five disparate people are trapped inside: Karen, a single mother waiting for her online date; Rick, the down-on-his-luck airport lounge bartender; Luke, a pastor on the run; Rachel, a cool Hitchcock blonde incapable of true human contact; and finally a mysterious voice known as Player One. Slowly, each reveals the truth about themselves while the world as they know it comes to an end.

The book asks as many questions as it answers, and readers will leave the story with no doubt that we are in a new phase of existence as a species -- and that there is no turning back.

Publisher: Toronoto, ON : House of Anansi Press ; Berkeley, CA : Distributed in the U.S. by Publishers Group West, 2010
ISBN: 9780887849725
0887849725
9780887849688
0887849687
Branch Call Number: FICTION COUPLAND 2010
Characteristics: 246 p. ; 21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Coupland explores how technology is changing relationships, using five people trapped for five hours in an airport bar after a mysterious disaster. The suspense builds as the book unfolds in real time and the reader gets to know the characters as they get to know each other.


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diesellibrarian Sep 11, 2012

I agree with others who stated that this somewhat experimental novel doesn't work. I forced my way through it, because I am a big Coupland fan and in general I think he has something relevant to say. I think this book does have a message, but a cast of cardboard characters and a contrived plot line make it impossible to figure out what that message might be. The last few pages neatly tie up the dangling threads of the narrative, but left me feeling like Coupland had just run out of time or energy and simply wanted to end the thing.

k
Karenina
Aug 09, 2012

I normally like Coupland's work, and I applaud the concept of trying to do something different for the Massey Lectures. Unfortunately, though, the premise does not pay off. In trying to be too many things, it fails at all of them -- as a novel, as an apocalyptic cautionary tale, and as a lecture.

d
DEWLine
Oct 14, 2011

Not sure whether to file this under "glass-half-full" or "glass-half-empty" worldview...?

b
Basileus
Sep 18, 2011

Interesting premise that loses steam as soon as the characters start navel gazing.

l
LR_Seattle
Feb 06, 2011

Meh.

A little self-indulgent as usual.

l
Lauren31
Jan 10, 2011

Really enjoyed this Douglas Coupland novel, leaves you with lots to think about. The main characters are the typical quirky Coupland creations, but as well it was easy to find parts of each to identify with. Highly recommend!

d
dougsl
Dec 22, 2010

I liked the four(five) main characters and their thoughts and actions, they seemed real. I did not like the secondary characters though as they seemed unreal and would rather they not even have been in the story. Overall though it was an easy fun quick read.

teacupfaerie Nov 12, 2010

listened to it read on CBC. It rocked.

c
Cecilturtle
Nov 09, 2010

I find that Coupland's books are a miss and hit. This one is definitely a hit! Using a cast of five characters in a enclosed set (it would make a good play, actually), Coupland asks questions about human relationships, religion, ethics, society. While there are sketches of answers, it is really up to the reader to mature the thought: I found myself thinking about the book long after I closed its cover. The characters are fairly stereotypical but they have enough depth to make the conversations and plot interesting and unconventional. The glossary itself is worth reading carefully: Coupland likes to redefine the world through his lens!

z
Zentjo10
Oct 18, 2010

The book is good, but Coupland presents a negative idealistic view of the world. I'm used to people being idealistic in a positive way and realist in a negative way, but not negative idealism. Coupland seems to have no redemption to humanity so if you're an idealist be careful of reading too deeply into this one. However it is a fast read (it took me one night) and covers a wide range of topics. Worth reading if you're a person who likes to debate whether people are inherently bad or good.

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