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Hey Nostradamus!
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Hey Nostradamus!

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  11,345 ratings  ·  445 reviews
Pregnant and secretly married, Cheryl Anway scribbles what becomes her last will and testament on a school binder shortly before a rampaging trio of misfit classmates gun her down in a high school cafeteria. Overrun with paranoia, teenage angst, and religious zeal in the massacre's wake, this sleepy suburban neighborhood declares its saints, brands its demons, and moves on ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Bloomsbury USA (first published January 1st 2003)
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John Brooks
I have long been an avid Coupland fan and I first read "Hey, Nostradamus" when it was first released several years ago. It moved me to tears, which doesn't happen entirely often, and stayed and played around in my head for several days after I finished it.

I am reading it again, now. In the last sixth months, two of my very dear friends, one 27 and the other 26, were killed, one accidentally and the other murdered. They have mounted into a loss I've found I can't quite get my head around. Despite
...more
Robert
Warning: Do not read this while depressed.

My primary coping mechanism whilst depressed is reading. But picking up a random work from the stack of 200 or so unread books isn't gonna do the job. The book has to be undemanding in terms effort to read and preferably plot-driven and gripping. James Blish was my go-to author in this circumstance for many years but I've read all his novels too many times in recent years. Ditto a number of other authors who I know would fit the bill. Which leads back to
...more
Brandon
It’s 1988. On a morning unlike any other at a suburban high school in Vancouver, 3 teens attempt to achieve the highest kill count in the history of school shootings. Flash forward 11 years into the future; the incident has more or less been forgotten by most but remains ingrained in the memories of a select few closest to the tragedy.

I was really enjoying this book; I could go so far as to say I was loving it. However, right up to about the halfway point, something so insane occurred that it to
...more
Jennifer
I wanted the book to be so much MORE. I was really intrigued by the description.

“As far as I could tell, Jason and I were the only married students to have attended Delbrook. It wasn’t a neighborhood that married young. It was neither religious nor irreligious, although back in the eleventh grade English class I did a tally of the twenty-six students therein: five abortions, three dope dealers, two total sluts, and one perpetual juvenile delinquent. I think that’s what softened me up for the c
...more
Teresa
Jun 03, 2011 Teresa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Teresa by: rhea
I knew basically nothing about this book before I started reading it. And even though the flap mentions a massacre in the high school (not a spoiler), I wasn't prepared for those details, and I as read the first part, I actually felt very scared, which was quite appropriate for what I was reading. At the end, I again felt quite emotional, for different reasons, and was impressed with what the author could do.

Crazy things happen in this book, but only one felt very unrealistic -- and that still k
...more
Rebecca
Jul 16, 2008 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in trauma recovery and religion
Recommended to Rebecca by: Its cover
This book really moved me, which is a total surprise being that I grabbed it at the library because I liked its cover. I know this could have been a bad idea, but I guess sometimes a good cover leads to a good inside too. I love how the author gives each character a distinctly realistic voice, something that is rare in these multi-perspective volumes. It is beautiful how we see not only the perceptions of the character's own motives, but each person's perceptions of the other characters' motives ...more
Joanna
I wish I could give this book 0 stars, that's how much I hate it. I bought it for $3.00 from a Barnes & Noble, and thought I'd amuse myself with it on a plane-ride home. Not only did I want to grind my eyes out forever, I wanted to make it impossible to remember by causing permanent brain injury to myself.

Someone told me, just the other day, when I was snarking on this novel that the authors of dime-store romance novels have more artistic and creative prose than Coupland. It is my profound h
...more
Jonel Boyko (Pure Jonel)
This is my first foray into the world of Coupland’s writing. I quite enjoyed the story that he developed. The dark humour combined with the stark look at life and humanity to make an interesting and captivating read. There were times when I was utterly captivated with the story and others when I found the pace of the story lagged a bit. The large passage of time in the novel was quite well done. It was quite interesting to see how a single event affected 4 different individuals over the span of ...more
theary
yep. a waste of time and trees.
Graham Crawford
Once you've read a couple of Couplands, you quickly realize he essentially writes the same book over and over - or perhaps it's kinder to say his books all circle the same set of concerns (like his image of a B-movie star being sucked into a maelstrom special effect). This one covers very similar territory as "The Gum Thief" (recovery from a tragedy - finding connections through collaborate narratives...), but for me, Hey Nostradamus!" didn't work anywhere near as well. That's not to say it didn ...more
Ruth
*mild spoilers below*

I love Douglas Coupland. He just has this way of seeing through the superficialness of our culture and pulling so much depth and meaning out of it. His characters experience such tremendous growth. And he is so funny. I am always alternating between being on the verge of tears and laughing outloud. Sometimes it happens at the same time.

This story is about a girl who is killed in a school shooting and how the lives of those who love her are affected by it. The first part is t
...more
Stephanie
This is the worst book I've ever read and I've read in-progress drafts from beginning writers. There's zero difference in the narrative voices. There's a gimmick for how the story is being told (ex: a letter, notes by a court stenographer compelled to tell her story). The plot is laughable and the character reactions could be called "unrealistic" if the characters themselves behaved the least like actual people. I mean, "Well someone saw us together in this Vegas hotel lobby so, naturally, I kil ...more
Jason
Coupland 1) never convinces me that Reg's unrelenting, myopic, savage pieties could (let alone would) spring from a Mennonite upbringing and worldview (indeed, Coupland exhibits so little understanding of the Mennonite perspective as to leave one wondering why Reg is written as having come from a Mennonite home in the first place), and 2) remains wearily incapable of giving his characters voices and ways of seeing the world distinct either from one another or from himself, and 3) commits the car ...more
Kelly McCoy
This is a really hard book for me to rate. Even as I say that my 2 star rating feels very harsh, but I just can’t go any higher. It started out strong, but each part took me further and further away from enjoyment. The story is deeply depressing and yes, it is about a school shooting, so what else would you expect?

The book is told in 4 parts by 4 different characters. The first part is told by Cheryl after her death. She was young and in love, but also very religious. Her boyfriend, Jason, gets
...more
Luis
My first words after reading were:
Oh my God. This is some serious depressing shit.

It is centered on the idea of belief and whatever consequences we get playing around that idea. This is a really hard book to review. It's serious, it's full of scattered thoughts that I cannot put together to write a review about. (I stared for about 2 minutes after writing that sentence.)

Hmm. Basically it's about belief. And what's the first thing that comes to mind? Religion. But this book is not preachy or what
...more
Urvashi Katiyar
Read this book. Just do it.

Cheryl's story is so beautiful and elaborate and makes you understand how beautiful this world is and how much we must cherish all the little details of our universe. Her very real perspective forces you to be aware that all of us are very much alive. Everyone feels SO MUCH and everyone is fully living their life second after second just as you are inside your head, and that is a very beautiful concept to be able to grasp. This books exquisite writing makes it very eas
...more
Jim
This is one case in which you can judge a book by its cover, and it happens to be terrible. One star could possibly be too high a rating. It reads as if written by a 9th grade student with a C- grade in english.
Nathan
Douglas Coupland always runs hot or cold for me. As a child of the 90s his novels were a huge influence on me -- Microserfs being one of the few books I can honestly call life-changing -- but more often than not my now-jaded near-thirtysomething self finds the reflexive irony and shameless zeitgeistiness of his books too cutsy for their own good. After jPod I was about ready to write Coupland off altogether, but on a whim I picked up Hey Nostradamus! at a used book shop over Christmas vacation. ...more
Rose
This book had moments of genius, but I didn't walk away going, "WOW!" So I can't quite rate it as more than 3.5.

There are a lot of grotesque shows of religious piety in this book, and Coupland often touches on the theme that people generally get spirituality totally wrong. But all four narrators of this story are, in some way, believers. So, I think it's a nice quality to combine the skepticism with these (generally) sympathetic characters.

I found a couple of the storylines related to Jason to
...more
Erin E
This is my first audio book and I must say the next time I choose an audio book I will either a) have to avoid listening to it while in traffic (this book was emotionally moving, riviting along with shocking) or b) sitting in the bath tub.

I have read only one other Coupland novel The Gum Thief and I found the novel haunting yet real it is not often that can be said about an author.

This is the story or young lovers, secretly married, secretly having a baby and then suddenly in an act of violence
...more
Kat
I've been hearing for years that I should read some Coupland, and H was getting rid of this so I decided to give it a shot.

I thought that the telling of the story from four different perspectives at four different times was a well-used technique, as it helped to capture not only the event that is the catalyst for the story (the school shooting that kills the first narrator), but also the ripple effect that event set off. I didn't necessarily feel that each narrator's voice was unique enough, and
...more
Nick Scott
This was my third Douglas Coupland (I've previously read Microserfs and JPod), and found this one much different than those two. It was more somber and serious, not as sarcastic or irreverent, but I guess that makes sense when the book is about a school shooting and its lingering effects on a family unit. But really, the shooting almost felt unimportant, just another event in these people's lives, and maybe that's the point. I enjoyed hearing things from each character's perspective. I enjoyed t ...more
Amanda
This is not a book that might have gotten my attention on the bookshelf, but was recommended to me by two close friends. So I picked it up at the bookstore when it was on the bargain shelf for $5 and I had a gift certificate. It then sat on my shelf for a few months until I started this whole reading marathon.
I'm sorry I waited so long to read it. The way the 4 narrators told their stories and how you were able to understand how the actions of one person can affect so many people was wonderful.
...more
M
Huh???
Bad sign when the book's antecedent action is so much more appealing than the actual plot, and when you find yourself thinking this is too dark to be funny, too quirky to be taken seriously, and too odd to be enjoyed.
Scot
Given that it is built around at least three moments of murderous violence, I did not expect my post-read reflection on this story to be so... well, peaceful.

Not an apology for violence by any means, but rather a pretty profound cataloging of many various types of tragedy, and a criticism of the endless ways in which people can bring these flavors of tragedy upon themselves and others. However, in the end, the point of the story for me is one of redemption; in the corresponding catalog of the w
...more
Erin
I got sucked in to this book pretty fast, and then it went downhill from there. I loved Cheryl's section, and I thought Jason's section was a good insight into him as a person - although he was a bit of a cliche character, the details of his life felt real and I started to care about him.

Then Heather's section made me bored and Reg's section made me want to die.

I felt like Coupland wanted this to be a big thinker of a book about religion and family, but it just fell flatly into a whole bunch of
...more
Tiny Pants
After reading JPod, I swore to myself I would still read this book in spite of how unbelievably horrible JPod was. Hey Nostradamus! was pretty good, even if DC relies on so many of the same conventions throughout his books -- hired foreign goons, lengthy descriptions of Vancouver, listing things that are depressing about living alone, parents' quirky sex lives, etc. -- that I spent the entire first fourth of this book trying to figure out if I had read it before. By the end, I was sure I hadn't, ...more
marilyn
best coupland in a long time and though there are still annoying parts, it certainly doesn't blur together like some of his other books in the last 10 years.

the good parts are so unerringly perfect and divine. the idea makes me giddy with excitement (the first quarter is narrated by a 16-year-old born again christian girl who's just been shot in a high school massacre, and is in some place after death but still without knowledge of whether there is a heaven or hell or just nothingness), and afte
...more
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
This novel is certainly difficult to read, due to the nature of story. Of course, there is no "easy" way to tell a story about a school shooting. However, my lower rating comes from my disappointment of the characters, who all seemed underdeveloped. I realize that grief and despair can lead people to do strange things, but I could not comprehend some of the characters' actions, particularly the events described towards the end of the story. I'm not certain what Coupland was attempting to accompl ...more
olaszka
i bought this for a song to get a second taste of douglas coupland whose generation x i loved. this was nothing like it. the two novels couldn't be more different, there were zero affinities, not even stylistic ones. just a completely different voice (or, rather, voices), different narration and structure. coupland must be one of those chameleon writers.
i struggled with the subject matter at first - religion doesn't interest me one bit, especially as experienced or perceived by a 17-year-old gir
...more
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1886
Douglas Coupland is Canadian, born on a Canadian Air Force base near Baden-Baden, Germany, on December 30, 1961. In 1965 his family moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he continues to live and work. Coupland has studied art and design in Vancouver, Canada, Milan, Italy and Sapporo, Japan. His first novel, Generation X, was published in March of 1991. Since then he has published nine novels and sever ...more
More about Douglas Coupland...
Microserfs Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture Girlfriend in a Coma JPod All Families are Psychotic

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“In the end, I think the relationships that survive in this world are the ones where two people can finish each other's sentences. Forget drama and torrid sex and the clash of opposites. Give me banter any day of the week. ” 243 likes
“Here's what I think: the five most
unattractive traits in people are cheapness, clinginess, neediness, unwillingness to change and
jealousy. Jealousy is the worst, and by far the hardest to conceal.”
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