A razor-sharp portrait of a morally bankrupt and gleefully wicked modern man, Worst. Person. Ever. is Douglas Coupland's gloriously filthy, side-splittingly funny and unforgettable novel.
Meet Raymond Gunt. A decent chap who tries to do the right thing. Or, to put it another way, the worst person ever: a foul-mouthed, misanthropic cameraman, trailing creditors, ex-wives and unhappy homeless people in his wake. Men dislike him, women flee from him. Worst. Person. Ever. is a deeply unworthy book about a dreadful human being with absolutely no redeeming social value. Gunt, in the words of the author, "is a living, walking, talking, hot steaming pile of pure id."
He's a B-unit cameraman who enters an amusing downward failure spiral that takes him from London to Los Angeles and then on to an obscure island in the Pacific where a major American TV network is shooting a Survivor-style reality show. Along the way, Gunt suffers multiple comas and unjust imprisonment, is forced to re-enact the ‘Angry Dance’ from the movie Billy Elliot and finds himself at the centre of a nuclear war. We also meet Raymond's upwardly failing sidekick, Neal, as well as Raymond's ex-wife, Fiona, herself ‘an atomic bomb of pain’. Even though he really puts the ‘anti’ in anti-hero, you may find Raymond Gunt an oddly likeable character.
©2013 Douglas Coupland (P)2013 Random House AudioGo
I have read and enjoyed several of Coupland's books before, but couldn't get on with this at all. Can't say if it was the narration, the plot or the characters but probably a combination of all three. As an English listener there are a number of popular culture references that don't ring true. I got through it, but I wouldn't recommend it.
I very rarely re-read books so no, I wouldn't listen again however that's not to diminish from this book.
Absurd. Relentless. Dark. Scatological. Hilarious. Surreal in the best possible way
I do feel that this novel and the narration (or acting really as he lends superb characterisation to all the voices) are a marriage made in heaven.
Absolutely laugh-out-loud funny. Occasionally I had to pause so I could recover from a fit of giggles.
"Whatever Happened To Douglas Coupland?"
My fella and I listened to this on our commute. Maybe it's because we've grown out of him, but both of us found this utterly awful. I've read a lot of Coupland's books - Girlfriend In A Coma and Eleanor Rigby, I loved, and I get the whole 'Voice of a generation' thing, but what happens when that generation grows up? We found this juvenile more than anything. Far fetched, ridiculous and lazy. Only Neil was a character you wanted to know a little more about but he wasn't really given any wings. Just a terrible book.
Next listen was Malcolm Gladwell - David & Goliath
OK. Terrible story.
I miss you Douglas Coupland.
"Surreal light comedy from a landmark authour"
I recently listened to the Cuckoo Calling which is a car crash of an audiobook. The worst thing about it was Robert Glenister's accents. At one point I played a segment to my partner to see if they could guess the accent (it was West Indian, she guessed Irish, I was a good guess). That book was awarded the Audible book of the year! Julian Rhind-Tutt put Glenister's feeble effort to shame. His scope of characterization and accents gives much more emotional weight to what is effectively a fairly slight book. And I can't imagine the humor coming off the page so well as it does through his masterful narration. The man is a pro and I look forward to listening to more of his work. I also recommend his reading of Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton.
I've adored Coupland's work for years but even I have to admit that since Girl Friend in a Coma he has mostly suffered from Star Trek movie syndrome (i.e. every other novel is a dud). Previous novel Player One was really good, so I came to this one with low expectations. I was very surprised to find him writing an out and out comedy, but by the time a atomic bomb is dropped we are in very Coupland territory, albeit from a more comic perspective than usual.
Whilst this is definitely not among his best work I found it had it's own charm and really enjoyed the characters. The premise of writing a book from the point of view of the most selfish character imaginable works surprisingly well here. But most of his pop culture targets this time around are just too easy ti be interesting (mostly Reality TV).
Fiona, the bizarre, manipulative genius ex wife of the narrator. She has most of the best lines and develops from a seeming two dimensional stereo type into an unpredictable force of sheer will power who drives the story forwards.
I laughed out loud 3 or 4 times. It's more silly than funny but hearing the delusional self congratulatory thoughts of a truly dreadful individual turned out to be a lot of fun.
Brits will struggle not to cringe at some of the bad cultural research. We say "round the block" not "a few blocks from here", "carton" and never "juice box" etc. The publisher should be embarrassed at the number of deeply un British mistakes. It's just not cricket!
"A Guilty Pleasure"
This book came as a bit of a surprise to me. I had previously read and enjoyed books by Douglas Coupland (Microserfs and jPod) which essentially deal with the insanities of life working in IT companies. They were slightly surreal, funny and very much trying to capture the zeitgeist. This book feels like he decided to have fun. The main character is as bad as the title suggests and provides a vehicle for Coupland to be as foul-mouthed and steadfastly politically incorrect as he wants. As such, it is not for anyone easily offended. You could imagine the Farrelly brothers making a movie of it. There are some brilliant laugh out loud conversational riffs between the main character and his brother which are worth the price of purchase alone. This is one of those books which is enhanced in the audio format by great narration by Julian Rhind-Tutt. I would definitely seek out other books narrated by him.
"This book should definitely be made into a film"
I think this book would make an incredibly funny film. The characters and situations are so far fetched yet well written - I hated having to stop listening to it and couldn't wait to get back to listening to it
The rise of Neil - from the beginning with "Don't you want me baby" was hilarious
The rise of the anti-hero
the story itself, and the wonderful reader!
Ray offcourse, and also Neil
I can't choose
it's a wonderful life
"Audio equivalent of a "page turner""
Life's too busy to listen again but this book was so compelling that I bought the hardback even before I had finished.
Where to start? Julian Rhind-Tutt did a fabulous job with a car-crash of a story ... you don't want to listen but you cannot help yourself. Douglas Coupland struck gold again but how did he get the English tone so right? As ever the diversions into fact and fiction make for a really enjoyable read.
I'm not sure. On the other hand his performance was striking enough for me to take note.
Laugh, jaw ajar.
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