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Eleanor Rigby

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,032 Ratings  ·  386 Reviews
Liz Dunn isn't morbid, she's just a lonely woman with a very pragmatic outlook on life. Overweight, underemployed, and living in a nondescript condo with nothing but chocolate pudding in the fridge, she has pretty much given up on anything interesting ever happening to her. Everything changes when she gets an unexpected phone call from a Vancouver hospital and a stranger t ...more
Hardcover, 249 pages
Published 2004 by Random House of Canada
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Apr 25, 2009 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“What if God exists but he doesn’t really like people very much?”

It’s 2am. I’m willing back an emotional outburst. It manifests itself in the usual way—lump in the throat, shaky hands. Damn. I hate this and then again…. Do you ever feel like the Tin Man? It’s a horrible feeling. ”I feel like that one Scrabble tile that has no letter on it.” Exactly

It’s been a dozen years (at least) since I’ve read Coupland. I remember being inspired by Generation X and feeling like I was a piece of living histor
Lonely people want to be dead, yet we’re still not quite ready to go—we don’t want to miss the action; we want to see who wins next year’s Academy Awards.

Doug Coupland’s Eleanor Rigby is tailor-made for dedicated readers fond of literature-focused social networking sites and who maybe, you know, sometimes think they should have more face to face interaction with other human beings but friends, in flesh and blood, can just be so exhausting. Liz, narrator and nondescript cubicle dweller, looks do
Mar 31, 2014 Neja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Coupland's books are so unique. I've read three so far and I just have a feeling, that all his books are so out of the ordinary. I wonder, if all this weird questions that appear in his books are basically his questions…and all these random thoughts are his. I love this kind of writing-writing the same way someone speaks. Just laying it all out in the open. Without thinking it through. This story is so captivating and interesting and my favorite so far. But I plan on reading them all. I almost g ...more
May 13, 2015 Npaw rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't finish - couldn't finish. I mean seriously, the woman is called to the hospital to see the son she's never met, goes home to clean house and then joins him to crawl on the side of the freeway before bringing him home to make some eggs? If this was given to me in a workshop I would have suggested he go to McDonald's University instead of getting his MFA. "All the lonely people" would rather be alone than spend time with this book. Paul McCartney wrote about a spinster, not a spastic.
Ben Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 20, 2015 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Douglas Coupland is one of those authors I think I’m supposed to really like, but with whom I’ve never quite clicked. I know he does the kinda snarky, sorta postmodernist literary fiction that’s usually my cup o’ tea, but for some reason he’s never joined the ranks of those authors whose work I regularly seek out. My first encounter with Coupland’s work was his first – and best known – novel, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. I read this in the late 1990s, at the point when I was e ...more
Michael Conland
I'm afraid I've long since passed my peak of patience with Douglas Coupland. I guess this isn't so much a review of Eleanor Rigby, as it is a review of anything I've read by him. I must have read at least 6 or 7 of his books and I think I could equally apply this review to most of them.

The first of his I read was Jpod and I still enjoy that. I then read Generation X and I enjoyed that too. But with each passing book of his I've read, I've enjoyed them less and less. I don't know if that's a sign
Jun 04, 2007 Trin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, canadian-lit
I loved this one. As could probably be inferred by the title, this is a book about loneliness—a reoccurring theme for Coupland. The narrator, Liz Dunn, is the type of anonymous, forgotten woman described in the Beatles' song, wonderfully fleshed out—I found her incredibly believable and moving. (Coupland in general writes women very well—in other words, like any other character, male or female.) Aside from a bit of weirdness involving some radioactive material and a German prison, this is actual ...more
Jun 19, 2015 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, canada
Non sono ancora sicura di cosa penso di questo romanzo. Sicuramente la narrazione in prima persona di Liz, che ci parla dal futuro e ha l'abitudine di evitare completamente un argomento fino a quando non è più possibile farlo, e quindi ci catapulta all'improvviso nel bezzo di un evento inaspettato, a volte anche estremamente surreale (sto pensando all'episodio dell'aeroporto in particolare), è avvincente, ma a tratti le sue riflessioni sulla solitudine e sulla mortalità (o semplicemente la morte ...more
Jan 05, 2008 Venessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All the lonely people—where do they all come from? Coupland examines this in his latest novel, a superb work that I devoured in less than twenty-four hours because I could not put it down, the way I am about most Coupland novels {although I’ve only read three so far}. What Coupland reveals in this novel is that loneliness can take many shapes and forms within people, that beautiful people can also be lonely, as well as those who are so bizarre they naturally draw others to them. And in fact, one ...more
Jan 26, 2009 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting a light, entertaining read, that I would enjoy but probably wouldn't contemplate much after reading, based on my previous experience with Douglas Coupland years ago. Picking up after the first several pages, which were a cliche depiction of lonely Liz Dunn, this was the case. However, the book inexcusably ended like Coupland needed to tidy up quickly and move on or else. I re-read the last pages, thinking maybe I'd fallen asleep and missed a transformation of events; I hadn't.

Adela Bezemer-Cleverley
Minor spoilers in the form of quotes!

What did I think? I think that Douglas Coupland is a brilliant writer, of course. This is only the second book of his that I've read, and while I didn't like it quite as much as All Families Are Psychotic (there were less characters and less dynamic plot things but it's also shorter so) I would still highly recommend it. And I'm apparently not in the mood for writing a long review today, so I'm just going to show you my bookmarks--there are like fifteen of th
Jun 01, 2012 Tori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"You have to decide whether you want God to be here with you as a part of your everyday life, or whether you want God to be distant from you, not returning until you've created a world perfect enough for Him to re-enter."

I got more from this than I care to admit. Loneliness is something no one wants to admit to and it's scary and sad to think of a person's life slipping away year after year with nothing to look forward to and no one to share happiness with. It's tragic and also very real. It's a
Aug 30, 2007 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liz Dunn is lonely. She’s overweight and bitter, with a nondescript office job and absolutely no one in her life except her mother and siblings. Her future stretches ahead, each day no different than the last, each year no different than the one before.
The story begins in the summer of 1997. Hale-Bopp comet streaks across the Canadian skies, and Liz comes to a realization. From that moment forward, Liz decides to go with the flow. No more trying to control everything. All she wants from life is
Jul 30, 2007 Sophia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a step away from Coupland's usual; there's the same piercing prose, the same uncanny finger on the heart of modern life, the same engrossing characters, but the language has been stripped down to essentials. While I've always loved his dense, allusion-filled writing, it's equally enjoyable to see him strive for a cleaner style. The narrator is Liz Dunn, a pragmatic, sharp-tongued, utterly lonely woman who receives a phonecall which, for a little while, changes everything. The beauty in t ...more
Apr 12, 2008 Kalisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland is the story of a lonely woman - as she reminds us about 16 times per page - who is home for a week recuperating from having her wisdom teeth removed, when she gets a call from the hospital. She's listed as the next-of-kin contact on someone she's never heard of. Turns out he's the grown child hat she'd given up for adoption when she was 16. The book is a little disjointed and it takes some really odd turns (like when she takes her lucky meteor with her to Germa ...more
Nov 17, 2010 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is my second Coupland book and it was a good read. Unique story-line and good follow-through despite a hokey plot twist at the end. It was another easy read which is perfectly fine with me since my brain is too tired nowadays too follow anything more complicated. Still, I want to be entertained, not bored and this book fit the bill perfectly. As far as a mini-description? I guess it’s a story about a woman’s journey and self-discovery. It’s not truly woman-centric though so don’t le ...more
Μου αρέσει να διαβάζω τον Κόπλαντ, ακόμη κι όταν εντέλει κάποιο βιβλίο του, όπως το συγκεκριμένο, δεν μ' αρέσει ιδιαίτερα. Κάπου μεταξύ ποπ ανθρωπολογίας και εκλεπτυσμένης σαπουνόπερας, με μπόλικες δόσεις μεταφυσικών αναζητήσεων και με μια εμμονή στους ανθρώπους που λένε (ενδιαφέρουσες) ιστορίες εντός της (εν προκειμένω λιγότερο ενδιαφέρουσας) ιστορίας που διαδραματίζεται στο βιβλίο, ο Κόπλαντ μοιάζει να γράφει διαρκώς παραλλαγές του ίδιου βιβλίου. Και δεν έχω πρόβλημα ούτε με τη σαπουνόπερα, ού ...more
Aug 22, 2015 alissee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
It is my second novel by Coupland, the first one being All Families Are Psychotic. And I gotta say, even though the events in "All Families" may seem far more stretched, they still felt much more real.

In this one I really liked Liz, the protagonist, I really liked the premise of the book, with a woman being alone and lonely and having witty and sincere inner monologues about it.
I don't know what kind of plot I expected but somewhere around finding the long lost son I realized I wouldn't get wh
Jul 02, 2015 William rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Coupland is certainly one of the most keen observers of modern life. He poses a question and then sets out to examine it.
In Eleanor Rigby, he creates a protagonist who is lonely and isolated. More correctly, she has loneliness and isolation thrust upon her by virtue of been fat and plain and after enduring a difficult childhood. She wallows in it and seemingly embraces it until in a miraculous turn of events ( a passing comet substitutes for the waving of a wand), a young boy - the son she never
Amanda Weston
Mar 27, 2015 Amanda Weston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So odd. And awesome.
Elaine Meszaros
Dec 03, 2014 Elaine Meszaros rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though I’ve never heard him described as such, I also consider Coupland a magical-realist. Mostly he is known as the darling writer of Gen-X, whatever that may be. Coupland does have a knack for creating wholly believable modern characters. Parents and elders are not omnipotent. They are as lost, confused, poor and as uncertain as their children. His characters have lousy jobs, mediocre relationships, unpleasant but common maladies and dull, trivial lives. However, like a good magical-realist wr ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"Meet Liz Dunn -- a good woman who has become very good at being lonely. Then, after 25 years apart, her amazing 25-year-old son returns into her life. And, at 40, suddenly, she is no longer alone, and must decide what matters more: peace, certainty or love?Once upon a time Liz Dunn was the loneliest girl in the world. One starry night, far from home, she told a stranger she was tired of being lonely. So, he tried to put an end to all that. Twenty-five years later, into her life walks,
Apr 19, 2014 Chris marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

“The Liz Dunns of this world tend to get married, and then twenty-three months after their wedding and the birth of their first child they establish sensible lower maintenance hairdos that last them forever. Liz Dunns take classes in croissant baking, and would rather chew on soccer balls than deny their children muesli… I am a traitor to my name.”

Liz Dunn is one of the world’s lonely people. She’s in her late thirties and has a boring cubicle job at a communications company, doing work that i

Mar 02, 2014 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really, I feel this is more of a 2.5, but I'm rounding up because I really enjoyed the first part of the book.

First off, this was a really quick read. Coupland's style is easy to read. There aren't chapters per se, but the book is punctuated in chapter-ettes and the whole thing is divided into 2 sections. I really liked the first section, the second section left me feeling a bit "WTF."

I can see why so many people dislike the narrarator, Liz. She's a fairly unlikeable character but it's her beli
May 13, 2015 Anca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-limbo
Giving up halfway through. I wanted to love this book but the plot kept getting flimsier as it went. Even though the content was serious, it just felt silly.
Bernadette Robinson
I've never read any of Douglas Couplands books before. I swapped this book with an online friend, I was drawn to the tiitle due to the song of the same name by The Beatles of which I am particularly fond.

Like Eleanor Rigby, Liz Dunn is a loner. She has few friends and not much contact with her family, until one day when she gets a phone call to visit someone in Hospital. The young man she is asked to visit is a stranger to her at first, but as they become acquainted her turns out to be her long
Jul 25, 2011 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I felt this book to be quite cohesive and strong for Coupland (I've read about 6 others), although the book didn't move me quite as much as I expected. No real weak points and maybe a bit anti-climatic, but very enjoyable to read, as his social observation was very sharp throughout. Overall, I thought it was more cohesive, but less ambitious than Girlfriend in a Coma.
Rachel Reynolds
This book was such a sweet surprise! I received it as part of a book exchange in which I participate and I don't think it's a book I would otherwise select to read. The novel tells the story of Liz Dunn, a quite unassuming woman living what could only be described as a lonely life in Vancouver, B.C. At first, it seems that nothing ever happens to Liz. But then things happen. And these events reveal a past that help us understand Liz's present and the relationships that she cultivates.

I don't wa
Jan 22, 2009 Stephani rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Meh. I kind of didn't remember reading this. I do remember thinking, really? Then I told Rachel that I didn't really know why she passed this one along, and she also didn't remember reading it. Unmemorable and kind of relying on my (nonexistent) pathos a little much. I don't know how to review books.
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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
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“Below a certain point, if you keep too quiet, people no longer see you as thoughtful or deep; they simply forget you.” 61 likes
“I curled myself into a ball and cried quietly, doing that thing that only young people can do, namely, feeling sorry for myself. Once you're past thirty you lose that ability; instead of feeling sorry for yourself you turn bitter.” 28 likes
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