It was a momentous event! I finally finished a book after more than a year of not doing so. Well what else could I do on an eight hour flight? This of course is selling the book in question short but let me assure you here that Douglas Coupland’s ‘jPod’ is a great read. Its about a group of video-game programmers seemingly caught in a limbo of boredom, bone-crushing cynicism and weird hippie parents.
It must have been a nightmare trying to balance the geeky in-jokes and conventional story telling without alienating the mainstream reader. For example, it must been strange for regular folks to come across multiple pages of numbers and nothing else nestled between the paragraphs of prose. Only the geek squad would appreciate the beautiful symmetry of the 8,363 prime numbers between 10,000 and 100,000. Do you know all the 972 three-letter words allowed in Scrabble? After reading this book you will. Will it alter an inch of your life? Probably not but nevertheless it holds a certain cosmic allure. Coupland is privy to this and milks it for all its worth.
Ultimately the characters are vacuous and bumbles along aimlessly in life. Far from being stupid they however choose to warp their mind with useless factoids and inconsequential sound bytes. They remind me of people in the real world who can remember the birthdays and favorite colors of their pop idol but cannot even get the days of the week correct. Coupland’s eye for details is peerless and this smartly observed book is further testament to his reputation as a literary force of nature.