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Life After God

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  11,653 ratings  ·  471 reviews
We are the first generation raised without God. We are creatures with strong religious impulses, yet they have nowhere to flow in this world of malls and TV, Kraft dinners and jets. How do we cope with loneliness? Anxiety? The collapse of relationships?
How do we reach the quiet, safe layer of our lives? In this compellingly innovative collection of stories, bestselling a
Paperback, 361 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Simon & Schuster Pocket Book (first published 1994)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,653 ratings  ·  471 reviews

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David Beavers
Feb 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's an obvious problem with a 5-star rating system (or any graded system, really) being used to rate god-damned BOOKS, you know? This has probably been brought up previously, but c'mon: I'm going to validate Virginia Woolf by giving her 5 stars, and also I really fucking loved Harry Potter so you know what, that's 5 stars too, so Harry Potter's 5 stars is on the same level as Woolf's 5 stars. And Comedy of Errors is only 4 stars, as is the entirety of Milton's work, but Trumpet of the Swan, ...more
Sep 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
"Now: I believe that you've had most of your important memories by the time you're thirty. After that, memory becomes water overflowing into an already full cup. New experiences just don't register in the same way or with the same impact. I could be shooting heroin with the Princess of Wales, naked in a crashing jet, and the experience still couldn't compare to the time the cops chased us after we threw the Taylors' patio furniture into their pool in the eleventh grade. You know what I mean." (C ...more
Jul 31, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Tried re-reading this the other day, and I just couldn't get myself back into it. All that Meaning-with-a-capital-M that seemed to be there when I was in my late teens/early 20s seemed a bit absent, so I stopped before I could completely ruin my good memories of this book. It's best to let angsty dogs lie, I suppose.

Come to think of it, maybe this is why I have such a hard time getting into a lot of Coupland's work that has come out since I graduated college. Maybe when you finally have some dir
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, lit
“For there was once a time when we expected the worst. But then the worst happened, did it not? And so we will never be surprised ever again.”

Early Coupland short stories that even if I didn't look at the date of publication seem to be sister pieces from his wonderful debut, Generation X. There's a deep sense of melancholy written in to the meandering thoughts of his disconnected characters and on every page you find a thought or a phrase so powerful it can take your breath away, make you infini
Todd Huish
Jul 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am admittedly a huge Coupland fan. I read absolutely everything he writes but I'm not blind in my devotion. He has hits and misses just like anyone. This book, however, is what started my fandom and makes me forgive his occasional misses. This book is full of short stories but where most short stories attempt to tell a small story from beginning to end these stories tell just the middle part of a much larger story. These stories leave just about -everything- to the imagination. They are just t ...more
May 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
luckily i picked this book up just before finishing a book that made me dislike reading (haunted by "the author"). this book is why i like reading, because it takes you to a different place and helps you put perspective on your life or understand some things that you just couldnt grasp alone.

a book like this is like a friend. and i love my friends. additionally i think all of my friends should read this book. soon.

i was a bit unsure starting the book, i liked it from the start but it couldve gon
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have been told—and have read—that this book will change my life. It did not. I do not doubt Coupland's ability to write. His prose is simple, but not spare, always divulging just enough to create the right impression—though his characters all sound alike as a result. But the pervasive road weary tone of voice, the wary (and hyperaware) disillusionment, began to grate on me. The self-consciously simplistic drawings troubled me, as well—they weren't irritating or distracting, but they didn't add ...more
Jul 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I read this first one summer long ago, sitting between jobs in a small apartment in Birmingham AL. That was a summer when I'd stay up all night reading or scanning through cable channels and go out to a breakfast buffet at a diner just before dawn and exchange aimless conversation with other people who weren't sleeping and had no daytime lives. Put simply--- I fell in love with the stories Coupland tells here. However not? I was in the same stories.

Years later--- too many years later ---I still
D.M. Dutcher
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, literary
Coupland is at his best when he writes on the spiritual. This book is a collection of short stories about various Gen-Xers living a life after god, as part of the first generation raised without any religion. Each are very profound, and all of Coupland's weakenesses as a writer-the cutesiness and hipster lingo, the product placement in place of character development, the faux-Kerouac prose-are nowhere to be found. Just simple, melancholy stories about how we really do need god to connect to some ...more
Myra Breckinridge
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reading
A re-read 15 or more years later...

I don't think Life After God hit me as much this time around as the first. But then it did. And then it didn't.

Ultimately, I don't think Douglas Coupland is trying to say Something. It is not meant to be a revelation. It's meant to be an acknowledgment of imperfect life. DC's idiosyncratic use of pop culture is perfect here, because it plants an experience. Even in all of its sparseness, Life After God says so much because it is riddled with environmental ancho
Jan 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
9/12: It's still a favorite, but I'd probably have this more at a 3.5 than a 5 now. Such a sad, angst-ridden story. Same characters struggling with the same issues as in every Coupland novel, but the small pockets of hope, the tiny observations about the greater bits of life and meaning, are so raw and powerful that the characters don't matter. And really, that's sort of the point.

I could underline great lines in this book for days. My favorite bit this time through: "For so many years I lived
Corey Dutson
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Deeply moving, and impressively depressing. In the end you're honestly left thinking about your own life and beliefs.

Very interesting read.
Aaron Maurer
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Douglas Coupland is one of my all time favorite authors. I have all his books and while I was going through the Nerd Cave and decluttering I became a bit nostalgic and wanted to go back and read the books that meant the world to me growing up. I decided to read this book because I have this permanent memory of this book speaking to me during a certain phase in my life. I have not touched this book in over 10 years easily if not more.

After reading this book I don't know that it is always a good i
Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-class
I feel awfully ambivalent about this book. On the one hand, I can think of very few few books that I've enjoyed reading less. I had to force myself to finish this one, and honestly, I probably wouldn't have if I didn't know I would have a quiz on it. For me, this book was almost unrelievedly depressing, though I know some people disagree with me on this point. On the other hand, I think this is an important book, and a very valuable one -- a story that needs to be heard by religious and non-reli ...more
Sam Quixote
Life After God is a collection of short stories written in blocks of 2 or 3 paragraphs per page, large font, with a single child-like illustration accompanying it.

The stories are plotless and meandering. One concerns a man in a hotel talking with his neighbours and then setting free some goldfish into a reservoir. Another features a mother who has left her husband and is talking to the child about her plans for their future and their present journey; another features aimless thirty-somethings,
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A reread of an old favourite. Recently signed by the author.
Trever Polak
One day later: Actually screw it this deserves five stars, I was hesitant because it's a harrowing experience to binge read the stories but they deserve all five. Also I forgot to mention that more than the gloom of OK Computer the stories reminded me of early Modest Mouse (pre-The Moon and Antarctica): there's driving on empty interstates and stuff, and the setting is the Pacific Northwest, and there's the sense of sadness with some sense that maybe, possibly, things could get better.

This was r
Kara Babcock
Jun 07, 2009 rated it liked it
I almost began this review with, “not your typical Coupland”, but I hesitated. I’m not sure there is a typical Douglas Coupland book. Oh, sure, Coupland—perhaps more than many authors—treats with the same themes, tropes, and even characters time and again. His bailiwick is that angst that seems to live on the flipside of every generation’s zeitgeist. And he examines this angst with zeal and creativity, using such settings as post-apocalyptic coma recovery, a school shooting, and (my personal fav ...more
Paulo Ramos
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book of all time. Every now and again - like some post-modern Bible - I'm forced to read its words again. So much depth in (apparently) simple prose... Magnificent.

Some of my favorite quotes from this book:

“And then sometimes I think the people to feel saddest for are people who once knew what profoundness was, but who lost or became numb to the sensation of wonder – people who closed the doors that leads us into the secret world – or who had the doors closed for them by time and neg
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
A nostalgic trip down 90s lane (How 90s is this book? One of the stories is dedicated, without irony, to Michael Stipe of R.E.M., a rock band that was once the biggest in the world, of some renown and remains a major influence on the bands that influence the bands of today - like, remember ten years ago when MySpace was the new Athens, Georgia?) via a series of well-written, sometimes-sad and sometimes-humorous (i.e. well-balanced), short stories from the hand of the Original Voice of Generation ...more
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk-books
Just because of this, it's worth it:

“And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can't ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it's already happened.”

Or this...

“We are changed souls; we don't look at things the same way anymore. For there was a time when we expe
May 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007-reads
2007 wrote: Here Coupland follows many impressive characters through the last days of the world. It is his short prose that makes this work so appealing. A very easy read, but intensely powerful emotions are evoked. It begs to make the reader question where he or she will be when it's all done. What state physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually will one be. The characters run the gambit of possibilities and most having reflected back after death tell their stories rather calmy, for all th ...more
Sep 11, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Ever go to a yard sale, spend hours sifting through someones discolored underwear and cracked 'worlds best golfer' coffee mugs only to realize the gem of the sale turns out to be a scratched Led Zepplin album that you've heard a thousand times before? Yeah? Then avoid this book, you've already had the pleasure.
Jan 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that has polarized different aspects of my self as much as this one has, my first Douglas Coupland book. I experienced a wide variety of reactions from across the spectrum. There were times where I just wanted to give up reading it. There were times where I was pulled into trance at its beauty. All in all, reading it ended up being quite a memorable experience, and made my lunch breaks during this, the last week of the new month of the new decade, significantl ...more
At times humorous, at times thoughtful, and at times a surprising reflection of our own self. A string of stories, life events, and of relationships, all in the hope of finding meaning. An interesting and easy-to-read book. Not as provocative or as funny as I expected to be ... but nonetheless an enjoyable read.
Julia Curtis
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this book for my micro narratives class. It surprised me. Seemingly thousands of stories questioning life and why we even try... it was almost depressing at moments. Coupland finds a way to bring readers back into that... "fetus" state of life as he called it. But at the same time- life seems to be a blackening pit with no redemption. The only character that seems remotely well off seems to hate her life.

A good read.

Jack Bates
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
I found this a bit confusing as it's essentially short stories but I didn't quite realise that to start with. I love DC but this isn't his best, also it's interesting how many of those Gen X things we all worried about in the 90s seem... less concerning... than the stuff that's going on at the moment.
Jonathan Lafrance
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super unique book. For sure going to revisit this one at some point in time.
May 01, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No matter how much I try, I think I'm just not a Douglas Coupland fan. I always feel like I should give him "one more chance" since I know so many people who really love his books, but it seems I'm always disappointed. I spent the past couple of days reading Life After God on the train, and yet again, it just didn't do anything for me.

I feel like Coupland's books have all the shape of being intellectual or philosophical without any of the substance. He acts like he's going to say something big b
Apr 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-50-a-year
A wonderful philosophical book that provides insight into Generation X. I thought the simple line drawings added an special flavor to the the piece. The chapter that captures people in a brief second before "the Bomb" is dropped is a bit macabre but a real eye opener and contrasts dramatically with the appreciation of nature at the end of the book. As a baby boomer with a son who is a Generation Y-er this book bridged that gap of our perspectives.
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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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“And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can't ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it's already happened.” 2457 likes
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