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The Gum Thief

The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland is out in large paperback at 17 euros.

On the heels of iPod, which was hailed by many critics as his best book in years, this is a new, ingenious and multi-layered novel from the iconic author of Generation X.

Roger, a divorced, middle-aged ‘aisles associate’ at a Staples outlet, is condemned to restocking reams of paper for the rest of his life. His co-worker, Bethany, who is at the end of her Goth phase and realising she’s facing 50 more years of shelving Post-it notes and replenishing the Crayolas.

One day, Bethany discovers Roger’s notebook in the staff room. When she opens it, she discovers that this old guy who she’s never considered to be quite human is writing mock diary entries pretending to be her — and weirdly, he’s getting it right. She learns he has a tragedy in his past and suddenly he no longer seems like a paper-stocking robot in a red shirt and a name tag.

Coupland reminds us that love, death and eternal friendship can all occur where and when we least expect them and that even after tragedy has hit, one can still find solace in the comedy and strange comforts of modern life.