DOUGLAS COUPLAND ALL FAMILIES ARE PSYCHOTIC PDF

The Drummonds are a group of misfits with a wide array of personal foibles and intricacies. Several plot points of the book include geriatric HIV , armed robbery , death in Walt Disney World , pharmaceutical drug lords, black market baby sales, Daytona Beach , and suicide attempts. The men start to travel to the Bahamas to deliver their package, but everything and anything happens to them on the way. The novel is told in a similar style to Miss Wyoming , with many plot flashbacks.

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At first glance, it seems fairly inoffensive: a pretty girl in a silver-embossed cartoon space rocket, a bold gingham background, some blandly groovy sans-serif lettering.

For experienced design decoders, it might suggest a certain kitschiness, a tendency towards broad-brush send-up, a savvy marriage of homeliness and hi-tech incident. But should the designers have addressed themselves more sensitively to "the message" they were about to send out, the results would have been hard to predict. Now make a cover out of that. In All Families are Psychotic, Coupland takes his carefully nurtured brand of blissed-out pessimism and Salingeresque sentimentality to new heights or depths, depending on whether or not you are a fan.

And for a writer whose effects are achieved in large part by exhaustive accumulation, he leaves nothing to chance. Elder son Wade is a dubious drifter only lately brought into line by HIV infection and marriage to a Bible-bashing ex-addict.

Younger son Bryan is a suicidal wimp currently being bullied by a teenage girlfriend, whose newly acquired name, Shw, is garnered from the initials of a Peruvian Shining Light martyr; she is pregnant, but on the verge of selling her unborn baby to a couple of nouveau-riche chancers via the internet.

Father Ted is a sadistic, womanising bankrupt who, after leaving mother Janet high and dry, accidentally shot her while he was attempting to shoot Wade, who had unwittingly bedded his second wife, Nickie. Janet, stopping the bullet that had already passed through Wade, has also contracted HIV, as has Nickie, and both mother and son are now beginning to suffer seriously from the effects of immunosuppression.

As the reader struggles to assimilate these hyperbolic details of family life, two televisual references come to mind. The first is the chirpy tag-line of the American meta-soap Soap - "Confused? You will be". They killed Kenny! To make our task easier, Coupland draws a circle around two or three of them - Janet, Sarah and Wade, most of the time - and exempts them from the full force of his ironised scorn.

The object in question is an envelope purloined from atop the coffin of Princess Diana, bearing the word "Mummy". In a tasteless, vulgarly exhibitionistic way, this could have been interesting, but instead it becomes fodder for a nonsensical, late-onset subplot about DNA cloning.

If Coupland is telling us that no object remains sacred, he does it in an oddly unproductive way, and if he is attempting to play the wised-up seer of 21st-century scientific progress, he perhaps had better not. Neither is the narrative resolution, which includes such bluntly crafted phrases as "a blur - some cursing But the author clearly feels some fondness for his less-caricatured creations, and his depiction of Janet, a strait-laced housewife sent lurching into modernity by the blows of fortune, is sporadically very moving.

At times, All Families are Psychotic is engagingly comic and thoughtfully sad. But even then, the temptation to elevate the personal into the sociological proves too hard to resist. Here is Janet, cruising through Daytona: "She saw images of doorless rooms inhabited by prophets stripped of their founding visions, images of teenagers fucking on towels designed by beer companies, wooden floors gone rotten, the strips of wood turned into dried-out slats - a world robbed of values and ideas and direction.

If the world has indeed been so robbed, Coupland has never been too sure who the culprits are. The man who brought us Generation X and the McJob might be said to have cornered the market in spritely disillusion and rueful cynicism. As smart phrase-maker and prescient neologiser, he may yet take some beating; as novelist, he seems unlikely to stay the distance.

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At first glance, it seems fairly inoffensive: a pretty girl in a silver-embossed cartoon space rocket, a bold gingham background, some blandly groovy sans-serif lettering. For experienced design decoders, it might suggest a certain kitschiness, a tendency towards broad-brush send-up, a savvy marriage of homeliness and hi-tech incident. But should the designers have addressed themselves more sensitively to "the message" they were about to send out, the results would have been hard to predict. Now make a cover out of that. In All Families are Psychotic, Coupland takes his carefully nurtured brand of blissed-out pessimism and Salingeresque sentimentality to new heights or depths, depending on whether or not you are a fan. And for a writer whose effects are achieved in large part by exhaustive accumulation, he leaves nothing to chance. Elder son Wade is a dubious drifter only lately brought into line by HIV infection and marriage to a Bible-bashing ex-addict.

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All Families are Psychotic

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