Friday, October 23, 2009

Douglas Coupland- Hey Nostradamus!

I first have to apologize. I am SO behind on my blogging. To be fair, I have been pretty busy, with getting married and all. That seems like a fair excuse. I think so anyway.

I have never read anything by Douglas Coupland and honestly, he comes off a bit too po-mo for me, but I thought, hey I have his book on my shelf, I should give it a shot. And I liked it. It was pretty good.

Hey Nostradamus! (2004) follows four characters, which are related to each other in various ways. It begins with a horrific high school shooting where the first narrator, Cheryl is killed. Cheryl was secretly married to Jason (the second narrator) and in many ways, the novel is about Jason, just from different points of view (the third narrator is Heather, Jason’s girlfriend later in life, then Reg, Jason’s father).

Because Katy has been blogging a lot about Canadian heroes in the cannon, I thought I would mention this point as well. The cannon does not always extend to current authors (with the exception of Atwood, Munroe, and maybe a few others) but I never think of Coupland as a member of that club. And as a hero, Jason certainly is not a member. Yet, he is very Canadian. One thing Coupland does is use pop culture to make his stories and characters seem like a real part of Canadian life. Jason isn’t a hero in the book, not by a long shot: he faces problems and situations many of which he does not deal with well. But what Coupland does do is create a character that is a “normal”, everyday Canadian.

From the artwork, newspaper articles, etc. I have read on Coupland, this seems to be his place in Canadiana. He is a born and raised Canadian who takes everyday things and writes them (or paints them, or whatever else) into his novels.

So maybe the days of the hero are gone in Can Lit, but instead we have a more real picture of what Canadians are like (and we are not all fur trappers or oilmen)

Next Up: Logogryph by Thomas Warton (which I have read, I just need to blog about- so it won't be a long wait, I promise)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The best novels are the ones that you happen upon unexpectantly. Robert Sedlack's The Horn of a Lamb is not on many 'greatest' lists, but it was recommended to me by two colleagues, so I decided to give it a go. And I must admit, I was impressed (and a bit perplexed that I hadn't come across it before).

The Horn of the Lamb tells the story of a brain-injured hockey player turned hockey fan living the nightmare of losing his team to the US market (Think Winnipeg, without saying Winnipeg).

Fred Pickle lives on the sheep farm of his uncle Jack. His life revolves around hockey- once a rising hockey star, a terrible accident left him brain damaged, now he builds his yearly backyard rink and has season’s tickets to his local NHL team. When the American owner decides to move the team South, Fred must decide between what is right and seeking revenge.

Sedlack tells a touching, humorous story set in rural Canada. Although there were a few times where I thought the novel could have wrapped up, when it did come to an end it was worth the wait.

Sedlack was born and raised in Calgary before moving south of the border (with the hockey team?).