I’m currently enjoying “The Gum Thief”, a novel written by Douglas Coupland and it is a real book that I am reading.
Douglas Coupland is one of my favorite authors. He has a distinct and very direct style. The observations he makes are always spot-on.
“The Gum Thief” contains a novel within a novel, “Glove Pond” and the author of this embedded novel is Roger.
Roger is a divorced alcoholic in his 40s with a characteristically Couplandian “McJob”, selling office supplies at Staples. When he began the novel long ago, Roger had serious ambitions as a writer, but since the death of his son and the breakup of his marriage, his life has gone adrift and the only writing he does is a bit of journal-keeping. One of his co-workers, a young Goth named Bethany, comes upon a sort of appropriation of her own persona in this journal, after he leaves it in the coffee-room by mistake. Infuriated but also intrigued, she persuades him to enter into a correspondence with her, in which they will describe their lives to each other in written notes. This somewhat unlikely contrivance expands gradually to include notes from Bethany’s mother and Roger’s ex-wife, as well as excerpts from the campily funny “Glove Pond” which, with Bethany’s encouragement, Roger takes up again. (excerpt from a book review – The Guardian )
In this embedded novel we meet a drunken, disappointed academic couple, Steve and Gloria. They play host to a thrusting young literary talent named Kyle Falconcrest and his wife, Brittany.
When I read the bitter dialogues between Steve and Gloria and how they deal with each other it sounded very familiar. It took me a few days before I finally recognized it and was reminded of a movie I saw many, many years ago, to young at that time to fully understand it.
Remembered Richard Burton played in this film and with some help of IMDB.com I found the movie.
So yesterday evening I watched a great 1966 movie directed by Mike Nichols. Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, George Segal and Sandy Dennis are awesome in this movie about a bitter erudite couple, who with the help of alcohol, spend the evening trading vicious barbs in front of their horrified and fascinated guests they are using to fuel anguish and emotional pain towards each other.
Based on a play by Edward Albee this movie “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is a punch in the stomach and leaves the viewer breathless. I loved the apparent electricity between Burton and Taylor who were married at that time.
It is clear that the relation between Nick (Segal) and Honey (Sandy Dennis) is under a huge strain during this seemingly endless evening and probably the bruises will never really heal.
At the end of the movie everything comes together. Nick and Honey go back to pick the pieces of their shattered life up. George has given his wife Martha a final mental blow.
So many things are left unsaid and unexplained. Watching the end is like looking at the world after a violent storm.
There is no The End but when the last frame of the movie freezes the words EXIT MUSIC appear while the final music score continues for a long while.
What a movie and such a mind-blowing experience.