The Gum Thief

The Gum Thief

A Novel

Book - 2007
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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.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury USA, 2007
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9781596911062
Characteristics: 275 p. ; 22 cm


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Dec 08, 2013

I read this book on a recommendation from a friend and it was truly worth it. I generally steer clear of any Coupland novels because I don't enjoy them very much. I think it must've been age related because I found this book to be truer and more engaging then most I've read. I put 'JPod' another one of his, on my to-read shelf because of this novel.

K_ROK Jan 10, 2013

Loved this book, couldn't put it down and was amazed at how well Coupland developed Bethany as a character. Steve and Gloria were very entertaining as well. Give this book a chance and you will be happy that you did. ;)

Jun 29, 2012

Classic Coupland. I loved Steve And Gloria, the story within the story.

Jul 13, 2010

Coupland does it again with The Gum Thief. The two central characters, Roger and Bethany, are both dealing with the monotony of working at the big-box store Staples. They exchange ideas and stories through a diary and letters. Coupland manages to weave a story within a story within a story in this novel - it is brilliant. And the two integrated stories are actually quite amusing, which is not always the case with Coupland. This novel is a fast-read and you will find your self grow attached to Roger and Bethany. You can't help but sympathize with Roger, the middle-aged failure and Bethany the young directionless goth girl.

Jul 20, 2008

Couldn't finish this book. Pick this up only if you are in the mood to read about unhappy, disaffected people who feel sorry for themselves.
P.S. - I have enjoyed other Coupland novels.


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