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Summer reading. Just finished Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland. It was a more emotional and engaging read than I expected.

The story is told in the voices of 4 related victims of a Columbine-style high school massacre, each with a different narrative and focus. Covering feelings and beliefs more than 1o years after the tragedy, it deals with God, grief, love, and redemption. Here are a few quotes:

“Sometimes I think God is like weather–you may not like the weather, but it has nothing to do with you. You just happen to be there. Deal with it.”

“I think God is how you deal with everything that’s out of your own control.”

https://i2.wp.com/www.futurumbooks.com/contents/media/BIGHeyNostradamus.jpg

This book is supposedly Coupland’s most critically acclaimed novel. I read the softback version with interview notes and background facts about the book (much like the bonus materials found in a DVD).

The book deals with emotions relating to the question: why bad things happen to good people? and contains prayers. The title of the book presumably came from this rant by one of the narrator:

“Hey Nostradamus! Did you predict that once we found the Promised Land we’d all start offing each other? And if you were such a good clairvoyant, why didn’t you just write things straight out? Thanks for nothing.”

Published in 2003, four years after the Columbine massacre, Coupland began writing in December 2001 after his book tour in the US post 9/11.  It is dark but moving, and completely devoid of nerd culture. This is a quote from the book on Coupland’s own site:

“I am aware that there is a world out there that functions without regard to me. There are wars and budgets and bombings and vast dimensions of wealth and greed and ambition and corruption. And yet I don’t feel a part of that world, and I wouldn’t know how to join if I tried.”

Another quote, this one voiced by a religious and hormonally-charged female teen narrator:

“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,” … “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.”

Like what one book reviewer said: “It’s hard to adequately convey the depth of feeling present in this book – you have to read it yourself to experience it.”

I have read a couple of his other books and posted about them here: Generation X (which made Coupland famous), and Eleanor Rigby.

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