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Polaroids from the Dead
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A cult writer for the disaffected (Generation X), Coupland combines manic poetry and scary precision in his dazzling, deft takes on modern life and non-living. Illustrated with 42 b&w photographs, this collection of 24 mini-essays and short fictions (all but three of which ran in Spin, New Republic, etc.) opens with several pieces on a series of Grateful Dead concerts that will mainly interest Deadheads, but it picks up speed as Coupland roams the former East Berlin in 1994; files a bittersweet, sunset-drenched dispatch from the Bahamas; meditates on James Rosenquist's enormous pop painting F-111; visits the nuclear tourist sites of Los Alamos; and spies on yuppies and political consultants in seamy Washington, D.C. In Palo Alto and in his native Vancouver, Coupland celebrates middle-class stability, which he views as a fragile construct that shields us from our animal nature. The "secular nirvana" of Brentwood, Los Angeles, to him seems an inevitable site for the O.J. Simpson/Nicole Brown saga and for Marilyn Monroe's death. Coupland teaches survival of the hippest as the world plunges toward a "new thought-based economy." $100,000 ad/promo; translation rights: HarperCollins. (June)

"What is admirable about this new book....is that he has chosen not to repeat the formula of his earlier commercial success....He bravely commits himself to material that is rich and deeply felt.""--New York Times"

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