A razor-sharp portrait of a morally bankrupt and gleefully wicked modern man, Worst. Person. Ever. is Douglas Coupland's gloriously filthy, side-splittingly funny and unforgettable novel.
Meet Raymond Gunt. A decent chap who tries to do the right thing. Or, to put it another way, the worst person ever: a foul-mouthed, misanthropic cameraman, trailing creditors, ex-wives and unhappy homeless people in his wake. Men dislike him, women flee from him. Worst. Person. Ever. is a deeply unworthy book about a dreadful human being with absolutely no redeeming social value. Gunt, in the words of the author, "is a living, walking, talking, hot steaming pile of pure id."
He's a B-unit cameraman who enters an amusing downward failure spiral that takes him from London to Los Angeles and then on to an obscure island in the Pacific where a major American TV network is shooting a Survivor-style reality show. Along the way, Gunt suffers multiple comas and unjust imprisonment, is forced to re-enact the ‘Angry Dance’ from the movie Billy Elliot and finds himself at the centre of a nuclear war. We also meet Raymond's upwardly failing sidekick, Neal, as well as Raymond's ex-wife, Fiona, herself ‘an atomic bomb of pain’. Even though he really puts the ‘anti’ in anti-hero, you may find Raymond Gunt an oddly likeable character.
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Whatever Happened To Douglas Coupland?
My fella and I listened to this on our commute. Maybe it's because we've grown out of him, but both of us found this utterly awful. I've read a lot of Coupland's books - Girlfriend In A Coma and Eleanor Rigby, I loved, and I get the whole 'Voice of a generation' thing, but what happens when that generation grows up? We found this juvenile more than anything. Far fetched, ridiculous and lazy. Only Neil was a character you wanted to know a little more about but he wasn't really given any wings. Just a terrible book.
Next listen was Malcolm Gladwell - David & Goliath
OK. Terrible story.
I miss you Douglas Coupland.
- J. Evans
Surreal light comedy from a landmark authour
I recently listened to the Cuckoo Calling which is a car crash of an audiobook. The worst thing about it was Robert Glenister's accents. At one point I played a segment to my partner to see if they could guess the accent (it was West Indian, she guessed Irish, I was a good guess). That book was awarded the Audible book of the year! Julian Rhind-Tutt put Glenister's feeble effort to shame. His scope of characterization and accents gives much more emotional weight to what is effectively a fairly slight book. And I can't imagine the humor coming off the page so well as it does through his masterful narration. The man is a pro and I look forward to listening to more of his work. I also recommend his reading of Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton.
I've adored Coupland's work for years but even I have to admit that since Girl Friend in a Coma he has mostly suffered from Star Trek movie syndrome (i.e. every other novel is a dud). Previous novel Player One was really good, so I came to this one with low expectations. I was very surprised to find him writing an out and out comedy, but by the time a atomic bomb is dropped we are in very Coupland territory, albeit from a more comic perspective than usual.
Whilst this is definitely not among his best work I found it had it's own charm and really enjoyed the characters. The premise of writing a book from the point of view of the most selfish character imaginable works surprisingly well here. But most of his pop culture targets this time around are just too easy ti be interesting (mostly Reality TV).
Fiona, the bizarre, manipulative genius ex wife of the narrator. She has most of the best lines and develops from a seeming two dimensional stereo type into an unpredictable force of sheer will power who drives the story forwards.
I laughed out loud 3 or 4 times. It's more silly than funny but hearing the delusional self congratulatory thoughts of a truly dreadful individual turned out to be a lot of fun.
Brits will struggle not to cringe at some of the bad cultural research. We say "round the block" not "a few blocks from here", "carton" and never "juice box" etc. The publisher should be embarrassed at the number of deeply un British mistakes. It's just not cricket!
- Amazon Customer