As the story moves along, more people are shot, kidnapped, more fluids are exchanged, the intricate pacing more like 17th-century drama -- John Webster, Ben Jonson or Moliere -- than slacker sitcom, which is truly a revelation, because the effect of Coupland’s previous novels was, while not necessarily ennui, horizontally humorous at best. Like a Friends episode, each was funny and all, but I never felt particularly changed in any way (the obvious intent of a novel like Life After God). Not to say that you necessarily feel changed by the Drummonds‘ saga either. But through the interactions of these walking hyperboles (even old people), you laugh through the conspiracies of drug corporations, insurance companies, governments and pirates, the real sufferings of those with AIDS, cancer, birth defects and addiction. And days later, not at the turn of the last page, you think. And you might even cringe. And that’s how a good satire, or in this case farce, should work. And like DeLillo or Ellis before him, Coupland would no doubt argue that the conspiracies are real -- at least in some form or another. In the hairline balance of an emerging global economy (likely copy intro for one of those commercials I was talking about), there are forces out there doing nasty things to maintain equilibrium, and old people, sick people, they are expensive. It‘s not too outrageous to think that medicines are withheld for the sake of the economy (just think of the recent stem-cell compromise). This is an exponentially more mature novel, with a sappy last page (I don’t think he can help it). But just rip it out and throw it away. He‘ll get it right the next time.