Liz Dunn is fat, lonely and has no friends. That sounds harsh, but Coupland faces unpleasant facts head on in this poignant, funny, intrepidly offbeat new novel. The only exciting incident ever to brighten Liz's life was a class trip to Rome when she was 16, during which she attended a party where she drank so much she can't remember what happened. Nine months after she returned home, she gave birth to a son, an event hidden from her family because of her natural rotundness. Liz gave the child up for adoption and then launched into a life of perpetual loneliness (hence the title's nod to the lonely lady of Beatles fame). All this changes when her now 20-year-old son, Jeremy, shows up. He's a great kid, but his story is tragic--he bounced around foster homes until he could take care of himself, he has multiple sclerosis and his body is rapidly deteriorating. Coupland, whose hip literary homeruns include Generation X and Hey Nostradamus , avoids the pitfalls of weepy melodrama with sarcastic humor, inspired treatment of the weirdness of everyday life and dark mystical interludes (Jeremy has bleak visions about farmers who receive odd messages from God). At the novel's spectacular, and spectacularly unexpected, denouement, Liz finally meets the father of her son. It's a bittersweet reunion and a perfect ending to this clever, inspired, brilliantly strange tale. Agent, Eric Simonoff at Janklow & Nesbit. (Jan.)Forecast: This is Coupland's tightest novel in recent years and will likely attract new readers while fully satisfying his loyal base. Six-city author tour.