Eleanor Rigby A Novel

Douglas Coupland

Bloomsbury USA




272 Pages


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On a summer night in 1997, a comet streaks across the skies. Liz Dunn has nothing in her life but impending oral surgery and an armful of video rentals to get her through her subsequent solitary convalescence in her condo. She's overweight, crabby, and plain, but behind her dull exterior lurks a mind sharpened by years of observation and contemplation. Liz decides to seek peace in her life rather than certainty—and then along comes another comet, in the form of a young man admitted to the local hospital with her name and number inscribed on his medical alert bracelet: In case of emergency, contact Liz Dunn.

A charming lost soul and a strange visionary, Jeremy upends Liz's quiet existence, triggering a chain of events that take her to the other side of the world and back, endangering her life just as a real chance at happiness finally seems within reach. By turns funny and heartbreaking, Eleanor Rigby is a haunting exploration of the ways in which loneliness affects us all.


Praise for Eleanor Rigby

"Liz's musings on loneliness have a welcome pungency."—The New York Times

"In other hands this would be material for tragedy, but Coupland turns it into a freewheeling existential ride, taking in terrorism, genetics and cosmology along the way . . . Liz is such a believably sympathetic narrator that you're gripped all the way."—Marie Claire

"Liz's moments of Charlie Brown haplessness are brilliantly rendered . . . Coupland is an engaging and humorous writer."—San Antonio Express-News

"Ever the risk-taker, [Coupland] enters the blandly settled consciousness of a fat, unloved, 50-ish woman with no friends and no life, and makes us believe her."—Hartford Courant

"Eleanor Rigby remains as thoughtful and melancholy as the Beatles song its title evokes."—Boston Herald

"He is approaching his subjects with the same tender humanity that made Hey Nostradamus! such a wonderful book . . . Eleanor Rigby is heartfelt and a lightning-quick read, well worth the time and a must for any Coupland fan or any newcomer to his unique talents."—Buffalo News

"Poignant, funny and exceedingly strange, for a mystical meditation on loneliness and solitude."—New York Post

"The significance of chance, the brevity of life and the function of families are themes central to Eleanor Rigby. They are made especially vivid by Coupland's strange and inventive presentation."—USA Today

"Coupland has crafted a formidable pop style that hooks up dead-on cultural anthropology with surprising reserves of emotion . . . What's remarkable is how easy it is for even the best adjusted among us to see ourselves in Coupland's compassionate (and occasionally madcap) portrait."—Village Voice

"Told with abundant wit and a deceptive simplicity."—Boston Globe

"Coupland's writing is a fast river of fresh perspective and comic dialogue."—Houston Chronicle

"Coupland's weirdest and most accomplished work to date . . . extremely funny yet quite moving: could be one of the first great novels of the new century."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Coupland, whose hip literary homeruns include Generation X and Hey Nostradamus!, avoids the pitfalls of weepy melodrama with sarcastic humor, inspired treatment of the weirdness of everyday life and dark mystical interludes . . . [A] clever, inspired, brilliantly strange tale . . . This is Coupland's tightest novel in recent years and will likely attract new readers while fully satisfying his loyal base."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Douglas Coupland

  • Douglas Coupland is a novelist who also works in visual arts and theater. His novels include Generation X, All Families Are Psychotic, and Hey Nostradamus! He lives and works in Vancouver. For more information, visit www.coupland.com.

  • Douglas Coupland