jPod, Douglas Coupland

So I didn’t really get into All Families Are Psychotic when I tried to read it ages ago – for whatever reason – and I tried jPod instead and had the same issue.  Then recently I was at Bongs & Noodles reading Girlfriend in a Coma and enjoying it mightily, and I wanted to get it out of the library but they didn’t have it; and I decided to do the same thing I am doing with Salman Rushdie, which is read his books in reverse order of how good I think they’re going to be.  This didn’t exactly work with Salman Rushdie, because The Satanic Verses was startlingly better than I thought it would be, but so far it’s working fine with Douglas Coupland.

By which I mean: I didn’t love jPod.  I liked bits of it, and it sometimes reminded me slightly of Martin Millar, whom I completely love and revere.  There are a bunch of computer geeks designing a video game; they all have mild social challenges, which a character notes can be explained by low-grade autism.  The main character, Ethan, has a crazy family, and there are drugs and illegal immigrants and guerrilla video game design.  A really mean version of Douglas Coupland also features, and the story is presented as being files from the main character’s laptop, which Coupland takes from him during the book.  Twice.

I am trying to put my finger on what was lacking in this book.  I think it is that I like a slightly more coherent plot than this – I get that plot incoherence is what he was after, but it’s just not my favorite thing.  Martin Millar’s plots are frenetic and unlikely this way, but in a way that is, for whatever reason, more pleasing for me.  Another possibility is that I will like this better when I have read it a few more times.

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