Hey Nostradamus!

Hey Nostradamus!

A Novel

Book - 2003
Average Rating:
3
Rate this:
Random House, Inc.
GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE
GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE

Using the voices of four characters deeply affected by a high-school shooting, though in remarkably different ways, Douglas Coupland explores the lingering aftermath of one horrifying event, and questions what it means to come through grief – and to survive.

The first narrator in Hey Nostradamus! is Cheryl, who is waiting in the Delbrook Senior Secondary cafeteria for Jason, to whom she is secretly married. Just that morning, she told him she is pregnant. But before Jason arrives, three younger students wearing combat fatigues storm the cafeteria and open fire on their classmates. Cheryl is the last to be killed. Hiding under a table, she speaks to us from a place between life and death, and tells the story of her relationship with Jason, her conversion to Christianity, and her deep love of God, despite her inability to find meaning in this massacre. Unlike her Youth Alive! classmates and peers, who display a harsh and superficial religious fervour, she has truly embraced her faith. “I may have looked like just another stupid teenage girl, but it was all there – God, and sorrow and its acceptance.”

The second narrator is Cheryl’s widower, Jason, writing an open letter to his brother’s twin sons, telling the story of his life to date and how the shooting has shaped it. It’s eleven years later, and, still haunted by Cheryl’s death, Jason has never been able to pull himself together – he cares little for his work, rarely speaks to anyone, and drinks far too much, too often, in an attempt to kill his pain (or at least not to think about it for a while). Jason also has an uneasy relationship with God, and sees the extreme Christian views of his ultra-conservative father, Reg, as one reason for his inability to succeed at life.

Then Jason meets Heather, who, like him, has a hard time dealing with reality. Together they create a world of their own, and live happily – until one day Jason disappears. It’s now 2002 and Heather, who narrates the third section of the novel diary-style, tells us about her life as a court stenographer, her relationship with Jason, and her growing but uncomfortable friendship with Reg. When she’s contacted by a psychic who claims she’s receiving messages from Jason, Heather is led to the brink of despair and back again to something resembling hope, or at least peace.

Reg narrates the last, and shortest, section of the novel. It’s 2003 and Reg is composing a letter to his missing son. It’s been fifteen years since the high-school massacre, but the effects continue to ripple through the lives of those it touched. Reg has begun to soften and to understand the harm he caused Jason and the rest of their family, and his letter forms a confession of sorts as he tries to be honest about his weaknesses. He is also more honest with himself, about his faith: “You might ask me whether I still believe in God; I do – and maybe not even in the best sense of the word ‘believe.’ In the end, it might boil down to some sort of insurance equation to the effect that it’s three percent easier to believe than not to believe.” But despite this calculating view of God, Reg also still holds out hope, as he sets off to post this letter everywhere his son may see it.

Four distinct characters tell four distinct yet entwined stories, as each tries to find his or her own way. And it is through their post-shooting experiences – their scarring exposure to the media or seemingly unrelated pit stops along life’s path – that Douglas Coupland finds the truer story of our collective need. Instead of following the chain of events leading up to the massacre or dwelling on the teenage killers, Coupland concentrates on its aftermath, its long-term effects. In doing so, he is able to make us really consider what it means to survive, and to continue to believe.

Blackwell North Amer
Pregnant and secretly married, Cheryl Anway scribbles what becomes her last will and testament on a school binder shortly before a rampaging trio of misfit classmates gun her down in a high school cafeteria. Overrun with paranoia, teenage angst, and religious zeal in the massacre's wake, this sleepy suburban neighborhood declares its saints, brands its demons, and moves on.

Publisher: [Toronto] : Random House Canada, c2003
ISBN: 9780679312697
0679312692
Branch Call Number: FIC Coupl
Characteristics: 244 p.

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

v
vcc
Sep 03, 2015

What a shame that a physical book is not available in our library system for this!

Coupland's writing is wonderful and he thoroughly engaged me as a reader. This is about more than a highschool shootout: it is about life and death, the existance of God, the lives of people who have to face their own demons, and ultimately about how people treat each other.

Reviewed: 6 October 2006

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 05, 2015

West Vancouver’s famous son is back on form with this powerful, affecting story of a modern media fascination - a high school shooting. However, it is more about bad behaviour wrapped up in a cloak of religious righteousness than the shooting itself (which is set in a fictional North Vancouver school). Readers will enjoy the North Shore references and the flashes of brilliant writing in a tale of the very human accommodation of sorrow and loss.

v
vcc
Oct 01, 2011

Coupland's writing is wonderful and he thoroughly engaged me as a reader. This is about more than a highschool shootout: it is about life and death, the existance of God, the lives of people who have to face their own demons, and ultimately about how people treat each other.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...
No similar edition of this title was found at IPL.

Try searching for Hey Nostradamus! to see if IPL owns related versions of the work.


Suggest For Purchase

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top