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Douglas Coupland

Douglas Coupland (b. December 30, 1961 on an air-force base, Baden-Sollingen, Germany) is a Canadian author and cultural commentator, raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. Trained as a sculptor, he worked in Europe and Japan before returning to his hometown, where he began to write on youth and popular culture for local magazines. This led him to the subject of his breakthrough novel Generation X: Tales From An Accelerated Culture (1991), which was critically praised for capturing the zeitgeist of his peer group, for whom its title provided a convenient label.

His next novel, Shampoo Planet, had a more conventional structure than its predecessor but many similarities, including an detailed eye for the mores and minutiae of the lives of its young protagonists, including video games, hippie parents and an obsession with grooming products. Microserfs (1995) is centred around high-tech life in Seattle, Washington, and Palo Alto, California, contrasting the corporate culture of Microsoft with pre-dot-com bubble start-up companies.

Girlfriend In A Coma (with a title from, and many knowing nods within the text to, The Smiths) showed a willingness to tackle broader themes and featured some of his most mature writing — poet and critic Tom Paulin[?] described his use of language as "fresh, like wet paint". Like the earlier novels, however, it was criticised as poorly structured. While his books are rich in humour, observation and carefully drawn vignettes, Coupland's critics noted a tendency for the plot development to be lost beneath. The apocalyptic ending of Girlfriend..., which seems forced and out of step with the remainder, is often held up as a case in point. In this context, Miss Wyoming is possibly his most rounded and satisfying novel.

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