City of Glass


Douglas Coupland’s City of Glass (Douglas & McIntyre) is really a SimCity coated in Teflon, and, like some parts of Dubai, it tends to look like Vancouver viewed from outer space, a place devoid of people, devoid of history, but whose “relationship with trees is a big one.”

Coupland in his non-fictional mode is sloppy, coy, smug and given to easy vapourizing (“Personally, I spend way too much time in airports”) about fleece, dim sum, weather and the Lions Gate Bridge, scene of the author’s “happiest memories,” driving between the airport and his parents’ house on the North Shore (the entire city of Vancouver lies between those two points). It is evident from the text that Coupland has never walked on Lions Gate Bridge, which he offers as the limit of civilization, “where time ends and eternity begins,” and beyond which lies a land of nothingness: “only more mountains, mountains until the North Pole, mountains until the end of the world.”

City of Glass, re-released in 29 in time for the Olympic Games crowds, is organized as an ABC; it ends, significantly, not with zed but with YVR.

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