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Eleanor Rigby

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  9,251 ratings  ·  441 reviews
Eleanor Rigby is the story of Liz, a self-described drab, overweight, crabby, and friendless middle-aged woman, and her unlikely reunion with the charming and strange son she gave up for adoption. His arrival changes everything, and sets in motion a rapid-fire plot with all the twists and turns we expect of Coupland. By turns funny and heartbreaking, Eleanor Rigby is a fas ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Bloomsbury USA (first published January 1st 2004)
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3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,251 ratings  ·  441 reviews

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Apr 07, 2009 rated it really liked it

“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
May 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-author
"All the lonely people, where do they all come from? ....Where do they all belong?" In the song, Eleanor Rigby and Father MacKenzie are lonely and so caught up in their own sorrows that they don't see the lives around them or reach out to others; they see only their own issues. Is this the way it has to be with loneliness?

This story is warm and told with humor and reality. Liz Dunn is lonely. She admits it and waits for death. She sees no other way through life. She's short, overweight, plain,
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: interesting
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
Mar 02, 2009 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.
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pgs-200-299, lawlz
Weirdly entertaining...
Ben Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 18, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 12, 2013 rated it liked it
On an emotional level this novel was exactly what I was craving; a main character I could relate to, quirky characters and situations and lots of lovely little details.
I could relate to the loneliness aspect of the book as I'm going through a particularly painful adjustment period in my life, feeling like I am starting over again in my thirties which I am finding harder to face and cope with as I get older.
I noticed some of the reviewers had an issue with the more outlandish turn-of-events but I
Jul 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, canada, i-own
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
Jul 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.

Jul 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this book at least once per year. It's not my favorite Coupland book, but it puts me in the mood to write.
Barbara Carter
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I picked this book up used, it's dust jacket missing. So I knew nothing about the book or the author.
This was a different read for me. Not the kind of book i usually read. i liked the short snappy dialogue.
It's a fun, light, quirky read.
Never quite sure where it was going. So it was a nice break from heavier reading.

Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites-2017
4.5-5 stars.

This is my second book from Coupland, and again, I loved it so much.
"Shampoo Planet" was slightly better to me, spoke to me more, but "Eleanor Rigby" is beautiful as well.
I feel like Bukowski and Coupland are 2 authors who go so well together, if I read one, I need to read the other soon after.
This book is about loneliness and, let's just say, it's depressing. But unlike Bukowski, this one's got a happy ending, so it makes a nice change, for once. Hhh
Adela Bezemer-Cleverley
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-stars
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
Aug 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
"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
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: knihobeznik
Liz Dunnová má 36 r. a je naozaj osamelá. Chodí do práce, len aby vyplnila svoje dni, no práca je nudná. Zvieratá ani rastliny nemá, stretáva sa maximálne so svojou rodinou. Je tučná, nevyýrazná a hovorí, že aj z davu by ju filmári vyhodili práve pre tú nekonečnú priemernosť a prehliadnuteľnosť.
Keď však opísala svojho šéfa ako duševného trpaslíka, začala mi byť sympatická. :) No ten deprimujúci byt, v živote s nikým nechodila a nemá priateľov - bolo mi z toho patrične smutno. Jej meno je známe
Paul Dinger
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Often times when I go to the library sales, I often find something I would never read on my own and get a pleasent surprise. This is one of those times. There is no Eleanor Rigby in the book, the title is obviously there to remind you that you are reading about lonely people and where do they come from. Well this is nature over nurture as we see father, mother, and son all suffer from self imposed loneliness. While I admire that the book doesn't soft peddle this, and Coupland is an author who's ...more
Kalisa Hyman
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
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 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 22, 2009 rated it did not like it
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.
The author did a splendid job on describing loneliness but I don't know what to make of this story otherwise. So much weirdness that didn't seem to serve any purpose. I think the deeper meaning, if there was any, was lost on me.
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
I found this book to be less than memorable. I don't see how anyone can find the characters in this book interesting, let alone compelling. Coupland needs to abandon the quest for "quirk" and try maybe writing something effective, or at least memorable.
Apr 22, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
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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
“Below a certain point, if you keep too quiet, people no longer see you as thoughtful or deep; they simply forget you.” 71 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.” 29 likes
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