Douglas Coupland to publish new novella, ‘Temp,’ in Metro series

Douglas Coupland
Author Douglas Coupland has a new novella out, “Temp,” about the difficulties faced by the current crop of new workers. Credit: Getty

Metro is pleased to announce an exclusive collaboration with celebrated author Douglas Coupland.

His novella, “Temp,” will be running online and in the pages of your daily Metro each weekday from Nov. 4-29. Charlotte Empey, editor-in-chief of Metro Canada, arranged the collaboration, saying that the novella “explores what it means to be young, smart and only temporarily employed, through the eyes of a contemporary cast of characters just trying to carve a place for themselves in an uncertain world.”

When we reached out to the famed Vancouver-based novelist about why he chose Metro to publish his work, he said, “Metro is the tom-toms of the global village. It’s the new face of old media. It reaches millions of people who devour every word and it all ends up being discussed in lunchrooms, meeting rooms and dinner tables around the world.” 

Below, please read Coupland’s letter to readers about “Temp” and his collaboration with your favorite daily newspaper.

In the next four weeks you’ll be reading the daily story of a very likeable character named Shannon. You already know Shannon — everyone knows Shannon; you may well be Shannon. She’s that slightly geeky gal who temps at every office you’ve ever worked at. She’s funny, she’s got her head screwed on right, and most of all, Shannon lives in our collective real world. She lives in the year 2013 and Shannon’s world is changing and mutating as rapidly as yours.

Change: that dreaded word. If only we could have a one-year holiday from change — but that’s not going to happen and we all know it. So then, how do we make the most of life as it’s really lived? How do we cope and find the good stuff amidst the bad stuff? That’s what Shannon’s all about.

But wait. Why Metro? And why me writing about a character named Shannon in Metro? Two reasons. One, I always set my books in what I call ‘the extreme present tense.’ As living creatures, the present moment is all we have. It truly is… it’s freaky and messy and weird, but it’s ours and soon enough the present tense will become the Good Old Days — so enjoy it.

Two, I’m no longer sure if fiction is keeping pace with life and how we live it. I’m a born experimenter and I want to try something new to address this lack. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: As a species we’ve never been smarter, yet we’ve never felt stupider. We live in a world of devices and clouds and economic bubbles. A traditional novel will always be central to human civilization, but I get the impression a new form of storytelling is being called for. I call it dépêche fiction: fast-changing fiction. (Yes, kind of like Dépêche Mode, a band I totally like.) Dépêche fiction is a cappuccino hit. Dépêche fiction is a really awesome Russian dash cam clip. Dépêche fiction is written so that it accumulates in your brain over time, and then, just like alien eggs, it suddenly hatches and makes your brain say, ‘Hey! I’m feeling something tingly and new! And BTW, I’ve overtaken your existence!’

What to expect? Well, it’s not ‘The Office,’ and it’s not a comic strip. ‘Temp’ is something new — and you get to be a part of the experiment. And Metro is the perfect slot for ‘Temp.’ Metro is read by people who are out there in the world living a full-on modern experience. Fiction is about readers being able to say, ‘Wait — that’s how I see the world!’ And I hope that’s what you feel. And now let the eggs hatch.


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