Eleanor Rigby


249 pages
ISBN 0-679-31337-0
DDC C813'.54




Reviewed by Naomi Brun

Naomi Brun is a freelance writer and a book reviewer for The Hamilton


Postmodernist fiction deals with events that appear on the six o’clock
news, but hardly ever happen to people we know, and emotions that many
would feel comfortable sharing only with their nearest and dearest. It
is intensely private in nature and, when written by a master, has the
ability to connect deeply with a reader as it brings the proverbial
skeletons to the light of day.

In Eleanor Rigby, Coupland has created a poignantly honest portrayal of
loneliness. His protagonist, Liz Dunn, has spent her life overshadowed
by two more attractive and socially successful siblings. She fears, at
36, that she’s doomed to divide the rest of her days between watching
television in her bland apartment and wasting time at a meaningless job
in a cubicle farm. She lives in relative obscurity and worries that she
just doesn’t matter.

One day, she gets a call from the hospital that shatters her worldview
forever. Other people, also lonely and wounded, enter her life, and with
their help, Liz figures out how to reshape her own destiny.

This novel features the unusual events, gut-wrenching emotion, and
ever-shifting timeline of any classic postmodernist work. What
distinguishes it from others, however, is the compassion facilitated by
Coupland’s trademark wit.

Eleanor Rigby is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to feel a
little less alone in the world.


Coupland, Douglas., “Eleanor Rigby,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 29, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/14500.