cover image Binge: 60 Stories to Make Your Brain Feel Different

Binge: 60 Stories to Make Your Brain Feel Different

Douglas Coupland. Random House Canada, $22.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-03-900052-0

An alcoholic named Rumwoman, a misfit named Erik, and a neurosurgeon on the skids are just three of the neurotic souls who unload their restlessness in this breezy collection from Coupland (Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture). The 60 narrators candidly unburden themselves in pieces that have the feel of theatrical monologues and in which plots, such as they are, often move with a stream-of-consciousness propulsion, heavy with pop culture references. “Taco Bell” features a sexual encounter in which the seducer seals the deal with a Childish Gambino imitation. In “Thong,” Logan makes an inappropriate 9/11 joke and later commits a murder, with passing references to Forever 21 and The Far Side in between. “” follows a self-proclaimed Bridezilla’s depiction of her wedding from hell. Some characters, like hard-partying college student Dean and a drag queen named Trashe Blanche, make multiple cameo appearances. Product placement is everywhere, from the Garfield doll in the opening story to a Toyota Camry in the last. The promise made in the subtitle pays off, and the stories also prove, as a Canadian border guard has it in “Liz Claiborne Sheets,” that “any situation can blow up.” It’s a diverting set of literary appetizers. (Oct.)