Hey, Nostradamus !

by DOUGLAS COUPLAND | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0007172524 Global Overview for this book
Registered by hunnyb of Sydney, New South Wales Australia on 7/28/2005
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11 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by hunnyb from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Thursday, July 28, 2005
Being a recent convert to Coupland's novels, I simply had to get this - partly cos of the fantastic plot, and also the wonderful cover! Registered another copy of this (different cover though, not as cool!) and sent it to bluenoser. Now I get to read it :)

Journal Entry 2 by hunnyb from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, July 29, 2006
This was great! I've read a couple of other Coupland novels (e.g. Miss Wyoming, All Families are Psychotic) and they were a bit strange. But this one was very readable and compelling, addressing the themes of religion, love and human nature in a very accessible way. Definitely made me think about why people believe in the things they do, and whether it is possible to ever let go of someone you love.

Journal Entry 3 by hunnyb from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, July 29, 2006
For the benefit of potential bookray participants, from amazon.com:

Considering some of his past subjects--slackers, dot-commers, Hollywood producers--a Columbine-like high school massacre seems like unusual territory for the usually glib Douglas Coupland. Anyone who has read Generation X or Miss Wyoming knows that dryly hip humor, not tragedy, is the Vancouver author's strong suit. But give Coupland credit for twisting his material in strange, unexpected shapes. Coupland begins his seventh novel by transposing the Columbine incident to North Vancouver circa 1988. Narrated by one of the murdered victims, the first part of Hey Nostradamus! is affecting and emotional enough to almost make you forget you're reading a book by the same writer who so accurately characterized a generation in his first book, yet was unable to delineate a convincing character. As Cheryl Anway tells her story, the facts of the Delbrook Senior Secondary student's life--particularly her secret marriage to classmate Jason--provide a very human dimension to the bloody denouement that will change hundreds of lives forever. Rather than moving on to explore the conditions that led to the killings, though, Coupland shifts focus to nearly a dozen years after the event: first to Jason, still shattered by the death of his teenage bride, then to Jason's new girlfriend Heather, and finally to Reg, Jason's narrow-minded, religious father.

Hey Nostradamus! is a very odd book. It's among Coupland's most serious efforts, yet his intent is not entirely clear. Certainly there is no attempt at psychological insight into the killers' motives, and the most developed relationships--those between Jason and Cheryl, and Jason and Reg--seem to have little to do with each other. Nevertheless, it is a Douglas Coupland book, which means imaginatively strange plot developments--as when a psychic, claiming messages from the beyond, tries to extort money from Heather--that compel the reader to see the story to its end. And clever turns of phrase, as usual, are never in short supply, but in Cheryl's section the fate we (and she) know awaits her gives them an added weight: "Math class was x's and y's and I felt trapped inside a repeating dream, staring at these two evil little letters who tormented me with their constant need to balance and be equal with each other," says the deceased narrator. "They should just get married and form a new letter together and put an end to all the nonsense. And then they should have kids."

Journal Entry 4 by hunnyb from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, July 29, 2006
Int'l bookray participants:

ajsmom (Canada, int'l)
silentmiaouw (Switzerland, prefer Europe)
veleta (Spain, prefer Europe)
LindyLouMac (From Europe, Italy, to Europe)
kizmiaz (Portugal, prefer Europe)
symphonicca (South America, prefer Americas)
rednumbertwo (Canada, OS)
Triggerfish (Scotland, OS)
silvia-pco (Portugal, OS)
sugaryfun (Australia)

Journal Entry 5 by ajsmom from Quesnel, British Columbia Canada on Thursday, August 17, 2006
Caught today, thanks!

Journal Entry 6 by ajsmom from Quesnel, British Columbia Canada on Sunday, August 20, 2006
I disagree with Amazon's summary of this as a "very odd book". I thought it was compelling and managed to read it in a weekend of camping with company. This was a rather 'un-Coupland-like' book, as there was very little of his usually wry humour; it was a most serious read. It addressed all the things the Amazon review mentioned, but I also thought it dealt with how we all form perceptions of people that of course, can never be 100% accurate, as we don't know anybody else as well as we think we might. The character of Jason makes this devestatingly clear by the end (no spoilers here!).

Thank you very much for offering this up as a ring, hunnyb. I would have had to buy this book for the cover alone! *grin* I will PM silentmiaow for an address and have this on its' way this week!

ETA: I mailed in on August 21st and manually changed the status to travelling.

Journal Entry 7 by over-the-moon from Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Thursday, September 21, 2006
it came, it came! I'm so excited - I've been wanting to read this since I saw it on my cousin's bookshelf in Canada two years ago. Thanks hunnyb and ajsmom!

Journal Entry 8 by over-the-moon from Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Thursday, September 28, 2006
An interesting, easy and unexpected read – without being preachy, it develops the theme of misguided religious beliefs, lack of communication and death – I lost count of how many times the adjective “dead” was used out of context – a dead hamburger for instance – mainly in Jason’s section. I found it hard to put down and wanted Jason's bit, especially, to go on longer.

We meet four characters who narrate their story in turn. All of them were affected by a high-school massacre in Vancouver. First Cheryl, who is shot, then her boyfriend/secret husband Jason, next several years later Jason’s girlfriend, Heather, and finally his father, Reg. All the way through, I felt sorry for everyone mentioned in this book, not only these four, but their parents, siblings, children and friends. I was really most sorry that Cheryl and Jason never told their family they were married; family secrets are not a good idea.

However, I didn’t find it at all weepy, just frustrating that I couldn’t go and strangle all those Youth Alive hypocrites. We really never get to know much about the kids who did the killings and their reasons for behaving like that, except that they are nerdy losers. Thankfully there is a small glimmer of hope at the end as things seem to turn out right for one person at least; and I admired Jason’s mother and his sister-in-law for their spontaneity.

Ready to move on, waiting for next addy.

Journal Entry 9 by over-the-moon from Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Monday, October 02, 2006
mailed to veleta, today.

Journal Entry 10 by veleta from Walthamstow, Greater London United Kingdom on Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Caught today. Thank you for offering this book to me.

Journal Entry 11 by veleta from Walthamstow, Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, November 02, 2006
Very interesting and incredibly original. I found myself with more questions at the end of the book that at the beginning.
There is a Columbine-like massacre in a quiet Canadian town called North Van. Cheryl was one of the casualties. Two thirds of the book is the telling of how the people who knew Cheryl dealt with her death. His secret husband, Jason, will never be the same. For me, the best part was the third: Jason's new lover affair finds that she is no competition between her and a dead saint. She finds herself fighting against her new boyfriend's lost love, and can't cope with it. (Who would?)

There are twists of plot all the time. As I was reading it, I thought it was like a Robert Altman film. I don't know why, but I made that comparison in my mind.

Journal Entry 12 by veleta from Walthamstow, Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, November 02, 2006
I've just asked Lindy Lou Mac for the address. Thank you for sharing this book with us, hunnyb.

Journal Entry 13 by veleta from Walthamstow, Greater London United Kingdom on Monday, November 06, 2006
Sent to LindyLouMac.

Journal Entry 14 by LindyLouMac from Tywyn, Wales United Kingdom on Thursday, November 09, 2006
Arrived safely today from veleta, thankyou, what a good postal service from Spain to Italy. hunnyb thanks for letting me join the list for this very well travelled book. I should get to start it in the next few days as soon as I finish my current book.
Update:11/11/06 Just about to start reading and having now read all the reviews, realise it is to be my third book in recent months with the theme of teenage shootings. What a scary world we live in! It will be interesting to see how it compares to the last two, 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/4249735 and 'The Pact'http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/3661600 both very very different. This will be more a comparison to the first title as that one is also about a massacre.

Journal Entry 15 by LindyLouMac from Tywyn, Wales United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 15, 2006
This was disappointing, in that it did not come up to my expectations after reading all the reviews. Maybe I have read too much similar material recently, as in my opinion it comes nowhere near the novel by Lionel Shriver, mentioned in my previous journal entry. It was interesting, although I did not like the style it was written in, split into four different sections. I also found that like veleta, I still had questions I would have liked answered at the end of the story. It almost ended to abruptly?
Now waiting to hear from kizmiaz
Update:21/11/06 due to the fact I am having problems with a small % of PM's I have only just today obtained an address. It will be posted on my next trip to Post Office.

Journal Entry 16 by LindyLouMac at by mail in To the next participant, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, November 25, 2006

Released 13 yrs ago (11/27/2006 UTC) at by mail in To the next participant, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



Now en route to Portugal.

Journal Entry 17 by kizmiaz from Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Just got it, thanks hunnyb and LindyLouMac.
Still have one to finish so I'll start on this one early next week.

Journal Entry 18 by kizmiaz from Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Thursday, December 14, 2006
God is nowhere, God is now here.
Another great book from one of the most interesting authors around.
Once again Douglas Coupland describes emotions and deep thoughts in a way both humorous and shocking. Never going for the easiest approach to the story (aka the tearjerker solution), he chooses to leave a lot of loose ends and make us do a little thinking for ourselves (something always welcome in this world of fast-food-literature).
The high school massacre is like the stone thrown in the pond, the ripples it provokes in the lives of the characters are what drives the narrative.
Jason, Cheryl, Heather and even Reg are, each in his own peculiar way, looking for a way out, some sort of redemption, and, like in real life, nothing comes easy and nothing comes free.
It’s amazing to see how judgements are so easily passed by people who don’t know what they’re talking about, like the Alive!oids and lots of others in this novel, once again just like in real life.
I'll be sending it on when I get an address.

15.12.2006 - symphonicca asked to be skipped.

Journal Entry 19 by rednumbertwo from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Saturday, January 06, 2007
I just arrived back from my holidays, without my luggage, and so finding this in the mailbox was a much-needed pleasure. I'll get to it right away. Thanks for sending it, kizmiaz! Obrigada! And thanks again, hunnyb!

Journal Entry 20 by rednumbertwo from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Wow, everyone has such insightful comments, so I'll try to stop my self from just saying it all again. This was definitely not my favorite Douglas Coupland. I think the humour of the situations was missing for me. However, it moved me, especially in Heather's section, where she talked about the characters and worlds that she and Jason created. It just seemed so realistic and perfect to me. I was bothered by Reg's mellowing, to a certain extent. I guess it was realistic, but I didn't want to feel bad for him, or like him more. I sort of wanted an easy villan in this novel, but I didn't get one. NOthing was easy in this book, and yes, I still have lots of questions.
I have PMed Triggerfish, and will send this on as soon as possible.

Journal Entry 21 by rednumbertwo from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Triggerfish is ready to receive this book, so I'm sending it off today. Good luck little novel! I had to send it by surface mail (poor student here!) so hopefully it won't be too long before it arrives.

Journal Entry 22 by Triggerfish from Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Friday, April 13, 2007
Arrived today! Thank you.

Journal Entry 23 by Triggerfish from Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 18, 2007
A well-written, thought-provoking, moving and humorous novel. Interesting format with four narrators and each narration happening a few years after the previous one. I didn't find Reg's conversion to normality very convincing though!

will post on at weekend.

Journal Entry 24 by Triggerfish from Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Saturday, April 21, 2007
Posted today to silvia-pco. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 25 by silvia-pco from Murtosa, Aveiro Portugal on Thursday, April 26, 2007
Arrived! I'll try to be brief. Thanks!

Journal Entry 26 by silvia-pco from Murtosa, Aveiro Portugal on Tuesday, May 29, 2007
This was the first book I read by Douglas Coupland, and it was a good surprise. The option of using four narrators is interesting, makes this an easy-reading book. I liked Heather's part, those characters she and Jason made up are really sweet!
I also loved this quote, it's from Cheryl's bit:

And yet... and yet I was me - nobody saw the world as I did, nor did they feel the things I felt.

Thanks for sharing, hunnyb! I'll PM sugaryfun.

19Junho - On it's way to sugaryfun. I'm sorry for the delay!

Journal Entry 27 by wingSugaryfunwing from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Tuesday, July 03, 2007
The book is here with me. I have two other bookring books to get through first, but I'll try and be quick about it. This one looks really interesting. Thanks to Hunnyb for sharing it, and silvia-pco for sending it on to me.

Journal Entry 28 by wingSugaryfunwing from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Sunday, July 08, 2007
That was brilliant! I didn't mean to read it straight away, since there were other books I was really supposed to get through first, but it just sort of screamed out "READ ME! READ ME NOW!", so I did. I couldn't put it down.

I think I enjoyed Jason's story the most. It reminded me a little of Chuck Palahniuck (especially his novel Invisible Monsters for some reason).

I think I'll try and get hold of a couple more of Coupland's books now.

Journal Entry 29 by wingSugaryfunwing from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Saturday, February 09, 2008
I loaned this one to my Mum, who was going to journal it but now thinks she may have left it behind at a place she was staying for a few weeks. Someone may find it and journal it again.

Journal Entry 30 by Grannyweather from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Sunday, February 10, 2008
I found it, Sugaryfun, hidden amidst all the other reading material I always seem to carry around with me - half read novels, newspaper supplements from months ago which I refuse to recycle until read, promotional leaflets from my electricity supplier etc etc. Well, now I've found Douglas Coupland, I need to read more of his work. I didn't tear through the book, but steadily made my way through it at bedtime. Im sure I met some of those Characters while teaching in BC during the 'seventies, and reckon I could tie up the loose ends without stretching my imagination too much. It has been years since I've heard the expression North Van, and many aspects of the story brought back memories. I can see the spot where Jason's clothing was discovered. The Spring thaw is something unknown to Brisbaneites! Back to you next weekend, Sugaryfun.

Journal Entry 31 by wingSugaryfunwing from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Sunday, March 16, 2008
The book is back with me. Thanks, Grannyweather.

Journal Entry 32 by wingSugaryfunwing at Boonah, Queensland Australia on Friday, July 13, 2018
I must have released this one while passing through Boonah last year. I happened by the same place yesterday (The Story Tree Cafe) and it was still there.

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