In the last twelve hours I have: driven home from work, checked my email & rss feeds, written a letter that I will never send, listened to a storm roll in, slept, dreamt, read the entirety of Coupland’s Eleanor Rigby (cover to cover), made coffee, had breakfast, texted with Libelle, checked Facebook, listened to hours of NPR, made a list of things to do, ignored said list, checked my email again, contemplated what to wear, worried over what I am not getting done, watched the rain fall and my yard flood, listened carefully to the bird calls outside to see which new ones have arrived for spring. Perhaps not all exactly in that order.
I did all of this without ever seeing another human being, or hearing the voice of one, even over the phone. I have texted, chatted, emailed and read FB status updates. I have, I guess, interacted, though not directly or immediately. This is particularly interesting to me today. It is not an abnormal twelve hours for me to have had, but Eleanor Rigby really was book almost entirely about loneliness and the nature of it in the modern world.
I really like Coupland. I haven’t read his last 3 or 4 books, but I read all the previous ones and have nothing negative to say. They are fast and engaging reads. I always leave them feeling very thoughtful and slightly changed. I admire his minor use of magical realism. I appreciate his characters and generally find them likable. I love reading about Vancouver and other parts of the northwest. I love the way his characters always have mirrors to my own life. Growing up in the 70s, in the northwest is entirely it’s own thing. I’m sure his characters are relatable to many people of all ages and from all places, but I find a small, special sort of connection. Which is, perhaps, the root of what makes me like Coupland’s work.
I can’t say whether you would like the book or not. Probably, if you like Coupland already. I can’t say much about it at all. My response to it was very personal. As would be, I hope, anyone’s, since I guess that’s what loneliness is: something very internal and intensely personal. I can’t decide right now if I think loneliness is something we should cast out of ourselves entirely, or if it is something to be reduced, shrunk, and then treasured.
In the last twelve hours, I have lived my life, alone, exactly the way I would want too. In the last twelve hours, I have lived entirely outside my life, away from it. It was my life and yet a nice escape, restorative. I am glad to have done it, and yet, though I know I know I will do it again, it is not necessarily what I would choose for myself.