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The Gum Thief

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The Gum Thief Cover

ISBN13: 9781596911062
ISBN10: 1596911069
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The first and only story of love and looming apocalypse set in the aisles of an office supply superstore.  

 

In Douglas Couplands ingenious new novel—sort of a Clerks meets Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf—we meet Roger, a divorced, middle-aged “aisles associate” at Staples, condemned to restocking reams of 20-lb. bond paper for the rest of his life. And Rogers co-worker Bethany, in her early twenties and at the end of her Goth phase, who is looking at fifty more years of sorting the red pens from the blue in aisle 6.

One day, Bethany discovers Rogers notebook in the staff room. When she opens it up, she discovers that this old guy shes never considered as quite human is writing mock diary entries pretending to be her: and, spookily, he is getting her right.

These two retail workers then strike up an extraordinary epistolary relationship. Watch as their lives unfold alongside Rogers work-in-progress, the oddly titled Glove Pond, a Cheever-era novella gone horribly, horribly wrong. Through a complex layering of narratives, The Gum Thief reveals the comedy, loneliness, and strange comforts of contemporary life.

Coupland electrifies us on every page of this witty, wise, and unforgettable novel. Love, death and eternal friendship can all transpire where we least expect them …and even after tragedy seems to have wiped your human slate clean, stories can slowly rebuild you.

Douglas Coupland is a novelist who also works in visual arts and theater. His novels include Generation X, All Families Are Psychotic, Hey Nostradamus!, Eleanor Rigby, and JPod. He lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.
In Douglas Coupland's witty new novel we meet Roger, a divorced, middle-aged “aisles associate” at Staples, condemned to restocking reams of 20-lb. bond paper for the rest of his life. And Roger's co-worker Bethany, in her early twenties and at the end of her Goth phase, who is looking at fifty more years of sorting the red pens from the blue in aisle 6.
 
One day, Bethany discovers Roger's notebook in the staff room. When she opens it up, she discovers that this old guy she's never considered as quite human is writing mock diary entries pretending to be her: and, he is getting her right.

These two retail workers then strike up an epistolary relationship that unfolds alongside Roger's work-in-progress, the oddly titled Glove Pond, a Cheever-era novella gone horribly wrong. Through a complex layering of narratives, The Gum Thief reveals the comedy, loneliness, and strange comforts of contemporary life.

“Bethany, transitioning from goth teen to adult, and Roger, flailing in his forties, have washed up at Staples, a modern circle of hell where employees mindlessly rearrange office paraphernalia. In their world, security footage of the staff stealing gum is a popular download, but real communication rarely happens. Unwilling to acknowledge their mismatched friendship publicly, Roger and Bethany covertly trade mocking self-references and smirky notes about vapid coworkers. Roger shares his novel-in-progress, Glove Pond, which resembles Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf recast with characters that echo Roger's acquaintances . . . As growing trust allows Roger and Bethany to reveal the deaths, desertions, and depression that have waylaid them, the odd pair finds the motivation to begin taking action again. The pace mounts, and the story gains emotional weight.”—Neil Hollands, Library Journal

"Relentlessly contemporary Coupland helped explode the Gen-X mind-set, and now follows his specimens as they stumble into their inevitable midlife crisis. Roger, a forty-something alcoholic washup and aisle-jockey at Staples ponders the unlikelihood of escaping one's pitiable little life. Another soul trapped in the sterile confines is Bethany, a goth girl with her own private disaster of a life. The two form an unlikely friendship in this cleverly crafted, bitterly funny epistolary novel, while at the same time Roger works on his own novel, a Cheever-like exercise wherein bitter couples lob witty insults at each other while drowning in Scotch and failure . . . Chronicling life's crises that don't only happen in the middle, Coupland . . . is almost always very clever—rather than heartfelt as his creations slowly tick off the things that they will never become."—Ian Chipman, Booklist

 
"Two misfits find common ground and a unique, surreal friendship via unspoken words . . . In the two years since his wife's (nonfatal) cancer was diagnosed, Roger Thorpe has devolved into a dejected, hard-drinking, divorced father and the oldest employee by a fair margin at Staples. A frustrated novelist to boot, Roger considers himself lost, continually haunted by dreams of missed opportunities and a long ago car accident that claimed four friends. His younger, disgruntled goth co-worker, Bethany Twain, one day discovers Roger's diary—filled with mock re-imaginings of her thoughts and feelings—in the break room. She lays down a supreme challenge for them both to write diary entries to each other, but neither is allowed to acknowledge the other around the store. Through exchanged hopes and dreams, customer stories, world views and cautionary revelations (time speeds up in a terrifying manner in your mid-thirties), the pair become intimately acquainted before things unravel for both. Running parallel to the epistolary narrative are chapters from Roger's novel, Glove Pond, which begins having much in common with the larger narrative it's enclosed in . . . the story is humorous, frenetic, focused and curiously affecting."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Review:

"'Two misfits find common ground and a unique, surreal friendship via unspoken words in Coupland's latest (after JPod), a fine return to form. In the two years since his wife's (nonfatal) cancer was diagnosed, Roger Thorpe has devolved into a dejected, hard-drinking, divorced father and the oldest employee 'by a fair margin' at Staples. A frustrated novelist to boot, Roger considers himself 'lost,' continually haunted by dreams of missed opportunities and a long ago car accident that claimed four friends. His younger, disgruntled goth co-worker, Bethany Twain, one day discovers Roger's diary — filled with mock re-imaginings of her thoughts and feelings — in the break room. She lays down a 'supreme challenge' for them both to write diary entries to each other, but neither is allowed to acknowledge the other around the store. Through exchanged hopes and dreams, customer stories, world views and cautionary revelations ('time speeds up in a terrifying manner in your mid-thirties'), the pair become intimately acquainted before things unravel for both. Running parallel to the epistolary narrative are chapters from Roger's novel, Glove Pond, which begins having much in common with the larger narrative it's enclosed in. Coupland shines, the story is humorous, frenetic, focused and curiously affecting.' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"

Synopsis:

The first and only story of love and looming apocalypse set in the aisles of an office supply superstore.

In Douglas Coupland's ingenious new novel--sort of a Clerks meets Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf--we meet Roger, a divorced, middle-aged aisles associate at Staples, condemned to restocking reams of 20-lb. bond paper for the rest of his life. And Roger's co-worker Bethany, in her early twenties and at the end of her Goth phase, who is looking at fifty more years of sorting the red pens from the blue in aisle 6.

One day, Bethany discovers Roger's notebook in the staff room. When she opens it up, she discovers that this old guy she's never considered as quite human is writing mock diary entries pretending to be her: and, spookily, he is getting her right.

These two retail workers then strike up an extraordinary epistolary relationship. Watch as their lives unfold alongside Roger's work-in-progress, the oddly titled Glove Pond, a Cheever-era novella gone horribly, horribly wrong. Through a complex layering of narratives, The Gum Thief reveals the comedy, loneliness, and strange comforts of contemporary life.

Coupland electrifies us on every page of this witty, wise, and unforgettable novel. Love, death and eternal friendship can all transpire where we least expect them ...and even after tragedy seems to have wiped your human slate clean, stories can slowly rebuild you. Douglas Coupland is a novelist who also works in visual arts and theater. His novels include Generation X, All Families Are Psychotic, Hey Nostradamus , Eleanor Rigby, and JPod. He lives and works in Vancouver, Canada. In Douglas Coupland's witty new novel we meet Roger, a divorced, middle-aged aisles associate at Staples, condemned to restocking reams of 20-lb. bond paper for the rest of his life. And Roger's co-worker Bethany, in her early twenties and at the end of her Goth phase, who is looking at fifty more years of sorting the red pens from the blue in aisle 6. One day, Bethany discovers Roger's notebook in the staff room. When she opens it up, she discovers that this old guy she's never considered as quite human is writing mock diary entries pretending to be her: and, he is getting her right.

These two retail workers then strike up an epistolary relationship that unfolds alongside Roger's work-in-progress, the oddly titled Glove Pond, a Cheever-era novella gone horribly wrong. Through a complex layering of narratives, The Gum Thief reveals the comedy, loneliness, and strange comforts of contemporary life. Bethany, transitioning from goth teen to adult, and Roger, flailing in his forties, have washed up at Staples, a modern circle of hell where employees mindlessly rearrange office paraphernalia. In their world, security footage of the staff stealing gum is a popular download, but real communication rarely happens. Unwilling to acknowledge their mismatched friendship publicly, Roger and Bethany covertly trade mocking self-references and smirky notes about vapid coworkers. Roger shares his novel-in-progress, Glove Pond, which resembles Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf recast with characters that echo Roger's acquaintances . . . As growing trust allows Roger and Bethany to reveal the deaths, desertions, and depression that have waylaid them, the odd pair finds the motivation to begin taking action again. The pace mounts, and the story gains emotional weight.--Neil Hollands, Library Journal

Relentlessly contemporary Coupland helped explode the Gen-X mind-set, and now follows his specimens as they stumble into their inevitable midlife crisis. Roger, a forty-something alcoholic washup and aisle-jockey at Staples ponders the unlikelihood of escaping one's pitiable little life. Another soul trapped in the sterile confines is Bethany, a goth girl with her own private disaster of a life. The two form an unlikely friendship in this cleverly crafted, bitterly funny epistolary novel, while at the same time Roger works on his own novel, a Cheever-like exercise wherein bitter couples lob witty insults at each other while drowning in Scotch and failure . . . Chronicling life's crises that don't only happen in the middle, Coupland . . . is almost always very clever--rather than heartfelt as his creations slowly tick off the things that they will never become.--Ian Chipman, Booklist Two misfits find common ground and a unique, surreal friendship via unspoken words . . . In the two years since his wife's (nonfatal) cancer was diagnosed, Roger Thorpe has devolved into a dejected, hard-drinking, divorced father and the oldest employee by a fair margin at Staples. A frustrated novelist to boot, Roger considers himself lost, continually haunted by dreams of missed opportunities and a long ago car accident that claimed four friends. His younger, disgruntled goth co-worker, Bethany Twain, one day discovers Roger's diary--filled with mock re-imaginings of her thoughts and feelings--in the break room. She lays down a supreme challenge for them both to write diary entries to each other, but neither is allowed to acknowledge the other around the store. Through exchanged hopes and dreams, customer stories, world views and cautionary revelations (time speeds up in a terrifying manner in your mid-thirties), the pair become intimately acquainted before things unravel for both. Running parallel to the epistolary narrative are chapters from Roger's novel, Glove Pond, which begins having much in common with the larger narrative it's enclosed in . . . the story is humorous, frenetic, focused and curiously affecting.--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Synopsis:

Couplands ingenious new novel--sort of a "Clerks" meets "Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf"--reveals the comedy, loneliness, and strange comforts of contemporary life, in the first and only story of love and looming apocalypse set in the aisles of an office supply superstore.

About the Author

Douglas Coupland is a novelist who also works in visual arts and theater. His novels include Generation X, All Families Are Psychotic, Hey Nostradamus!, Eleanor Rigby, and JPod. He lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Clark, January 9, 2008 (view all comments by Clark)
The Gum Thief is easily one of the best books I have ever read. Coupland uses interesting characters that you can relate with. Staples provides an interesting and humorous setting for anyone who has worked in retail. The novel written by Roger within The Gum Thief is a great story as well. Coupland has a great sense of humor that he intermixes throughout the book. This is one of the few books that I actually never wanted to end. This is my first Douglas Coupland novel but it definately will not be my last. A+ for The Gum Thief.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781596911062
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Coupland, Douglas
Author:
Coupland, Douglas
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Authorship
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Humorous fiction
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20071002
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Gum Thief Used Hardcover
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Product details 288 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781596911062 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'Two misfits find common ground and a unique, surreal friendship via unspoken words in Coupland's latest (after JPod), a fine return to form. In the two years since his wife's (nonfatal) cancer was diagnosed, Roger Thorpe has devolved into a dejected, hard-drinking, divorced father and the oldest employee 'by a fair margin' at Staples. A frustrated novelist to boot, Roger considers himself 'lost,' continually haunted by dreams of missed opportunities and a long ago car accident that claimed four friends. His younger, disgruntled goth co-worker, Bethany Twain, one day discovers Roger's diary — filled with mock re-imaginings of her thoughts and feelings — in the break room. She lays down a 'supreme challenge' for them both to write diary entries to each other, but neither is allowed to acknowledge the other around the store. Through exchanged hopes and dreams, customer stories, world views and cautionary revelations ('time speeds up in a terrifying manner in your mid-thirties'), the pair become intimately acquainted before things unravel for both. Running parallel to the epistolary narrative are chapters from Roger's novel, Glove Pond, which begins having much in common with the larger narrative it's enclosed in. Coupland shines, the story is humorous, frenetic, focused and curiously affecting.' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
"Synopsis" by , The first and only story of love and looming apocalypse set in the aisles of an office supply superstore.

In Douglas Coupland's ingenious new novel--sort of a Clerks meets Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf--we meet Roger, a divorced, middle-aged aisles associate at Staples, condemned to restocking reams of 20-lb. bond paper for the rest of his life. And Roger's co-worker Bethany, in her early twenties and at the end of her Goth phase, who is looking at fifty more years of sorting the red pens from the blue in aisle 6.

One day, Bethany discovers Roger's notebook in the staff room. When she opens it up, she discovers that this old guy she's never considered as quite human is writing mock diary entries pretending to be her: and, spookily, he is getting her right.

These two retail workers then strike up an extraordinary epistolary relationship. Watch as their lives unfold alongside Roger's work-in-progress, the oddly titled Glove Pond, a Cheever-era novella gone horribly, horribly wrong. Through a complex layering of narratives, The Gum Thief reveals the comedy, loneliness, and strange comforts of contemporary life.

Coupland electrifies us on every page of this witty, wise, and unforgettable novel. Love, death and eternal friendship can all transpire where we least expect them ...and even after tragedy seems to have wiped your human slate clean, stories can slowly rebuild you. Douglas Coupland is a novelist who also works in visual arts and theater. His novels include Generation X, All Families Are Psychotic, Hey Nostradamus , Eleanor Rigby, and JPod. He lives and works in Vancouver, Canada. In Douglas Coupland's witty new novel we meet Roger, a divorced, middle-aged aisles associate at Staples, condemned to restocking reams of 20-lb. bond paper for the rest of his life. And Roger's co-worker Bethany, in her early twenties and at the end of her Goth phase, who is looking at fifty more years of sorting the red pens from the blue in aisle 6. One day, Bethany discovers Roger's notebook in the staff room. When she opens it up, she discovers that this old guy she's never considered as quite human is writing mock diary entries pretending to be her: and, he is getting her right.

These two retail workers then strike up an epistolary relationship that unfolds alongside Roger's work-in-progress, the oddly titled Glove Pond, a Cheever-era novella gone horribly wrong. Through a complex layering of narratives, The Gum Thief reveals the comedy, loneliness, and strange comforts of contemporary life. Bethany, transitioning from goth teen to adult, and Roger, flailing in his forties, have washed up at Staples, a modern circle of hell where employees mindlessly rearrange office paraphernalia. In their world, security footage of the staff stealing gum is a popular download, but real communication rarely happens. Unwilling to acknowledge their mismatched friendship publicly, Roger and Bethany covertly trade mocking self-references and smirky notes about vapid coworkers. Roger shares his novel-in-progress, Glove Pond, which resembles Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf recast with characters that echo Roger's acquaintances . . . As growing trust allows Roger and Bethany to reveal the deaths, desertions, and depression that have waylaid them, the odd pair finds the motivation to begin taking action again. The pace mounts, and the story gains emotional weight.--Neil Hollands, Library Journal

Relentlessly contemporary Coupland helped explode the Gen-X mind-set, and now follows his specimens as they stumble into their inevitable midlife crisis. Roger, a forty-something alcoholic washup and aisle-jockey at Staples ponders the unlikelihood of escaping one's pitiable little life. Another soul trapped in the sterile confines is Bethany, a goth girl with her own private disaster of a life. The two form an unlikely friendship in this cleverly crafted, bitterly funny epistolary novel, while at the same time Roger works on his own novel, a Cheever-like exercise wherein bitter couples lob witty insults at each other while drowning in Scotch and failure . . . Chronicling life's crises that don't only happen in the middle, Coupland . . . is almost always very clever--rather than heartfelt as his creations slowly tick off the things that they will never become.--Ian Chipman, Booklist Two misfits find common ground and a unique, surreal friendship via unspoken words . . . In the two years since his wife's (nonfatal) cancer was diagnosed, Roger Thorpe has devolved into a dejected, hard-drinking, divorced father and the oldest employee by a fair margin at Staples. A frustrated novelist to boot, Roger considers himself lost, continually haunted by dreams of missed opportunities and a long ago car accident that claimed four friends. His younger, disgruntled goth co-worker, Bethany Twain, one day discovers Roger's diary--filled with mock re-imaginings of her thoughts and feelings--in the break room. She lays down a supreme challenge for them both to write diary entries to each other, but neither is allowed to acknowledge the other around the store. Through exchanged hopes and dreams, customer stories, world views and cautionary revelations (time speeds up in a terrifying manner in your mid-thirties), the pair become intimately acquainted before things unravel for both. Running parallel to the epistolary narrative are chapters from Roger's novel, Glove Pond, which begins having much in common with the larger narrative it's enclosed in . . . the story is humorous, frenetic, focused and curiously affecting.--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Synopsis" by , Couplands ingenious new novel--sort of a "Clerks" meets "Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf"--reveals the comedy, loneliness, and strange comforts of contemporary life, in the first and only story of love and looming apocalypse set in the aisles of an office supply superstore.
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