Microserfs is the third novel by Coupland that I have read, and it is the best of the three, in fact it may be one of the finest novels I’ve had the pleasure to read. Coupland is fast becoming one of the novelists I most admire.
The plot centres on a group of employees at Microsoft in the Seattle area, who leave to find their fortunes in California’s Silicon Valley. Narrated by one of the group members, Daniel, the story follows their financial and romantic ups and downs, the details of the computer work that they perform, and the random and intricate details of their lives. Told with a sense of humour so rich that I laughed aloud while reading – a genuine rarity for me – and a poignancy that entirely captured me, the story ends beautifully, as I think that Coupland has more skill at writing satisfying conclusions than any author I have ever read. I recommend this marvellous novel for anyone looking for excellence.
46. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson, 2010, 576 pages.
It is probable that all of you know that this is the final book of the Swedish trilogy that began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It was a decent book, and kept me turning pages at a time when I was having a great deal of difficulty concentrating on reading, as the plot was terse. However, the long conversations between police officers and their fellows, groups of mob men, SAPO officers [Swedish SIS], and newspaper editors were anything but terse, and it resulted in a book where the reader knew what the conclusion of the book would be half a book before the conclusion. This approach worked, but barely, as I far prefer the suspense of the surprise ending, or at least a decent plot twist, which this novel lacked.
Personally, I wish that the series had not been a series at all, but had stopped after the first book, which was a magnificent thriller. The two books since have been page-turners but not at all close to the tour de force that was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I read them because they existed, but overall, I really could have done without them.
47. The Green Mile by Stephen King, 1997, 440 pages.
As I was still having difficulty concentrating on anything that I picked up to read, once again I turned to Stephen King and his prodigious supply of thrillers and horror novels. As I had The Green Mile on my e-reader it was common sense to read that one, and I am entirely pleased with my choice. Christine is my favourite of Stephen King’s novels, but The Green Mile is an easy shoe-in for second place. Creepy, sad, and fascinating, the book grabbed my attention from the beginning and I read it with unalloyed delight. I am going to try the film version of this book, although I rarely do so. I don’t know if I can handle Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecombe – why does Tom Hanks have to be in everything?? – but I would like to see Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey: he seems made for the role.