520 pages
ISBN 0-679-31424-5
DDC C813'.54




Reviewed by Douglas Ivison

Douglas Ivison is the Graduate Coordinator, Department of English,
Lakehead University, Thunder Bay.


Since the publication of Generation X in 1991, Douglas Coupland has
established himself as one of Canada’s most prominent novelists and
cultural figures. Despite being an entertaining and interesting read,
jPod does little to advance his reputation.

Ethan Jarlewski works for a Vancouver video-game company, relegated to
a dead-end unit to which employees whose last names begins with “j”
are arbitrarily assigned (hence the book’s title). Besides office
life, Ethan must cope with his dysfunctional family (a pot-growing
mother and ballroom-dancing-crazed wannabe-actor father) and a Chinese

As in Coupland’s previous books, there are numerous references to
popular culture and an emphasis on the defining role of popular culture
on the characters’ lives. There is playful manipulation of text and
format (Coupland receives a credit for text design). There are
metafictional devices aplenty (the characters frequently refer to their
lives as being like those of people in Coupland novels, and Coupland
becomes a key character).

Coupland fans will no doubt rejoice at this outlandish roller-coaster
of a book. Others will find jPod a bit superficial and lacking in the
originality and inventiveness that characterize the author’s best


Coupland, Douglas., “jPod,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 22, 2024,