The Blurred Narrators of Douglas Coupland's Life After God
This essay examines the construction of narrator identity in Douglas Coupland's short story composite Life After God. It suggests a reading of blurred narrators, a narrator identity positioned in between one and several. This is created through the omission of distinguishing qualities in the narrators of the different chapters. The narrators are blurred further by there being no causal links between the chapters. The narrators of the text have experienced an ideologically homogeneous environment while growing up and are poorly equipped to tackle free choice as it looks in their adult lives. The loss of stability renders crises and confusion in the narrators. The blurred narrators allow the implied reader to experience a similar confusion in the reading experience. The confusion relies on reader-expectation of a traditional discourse where a distinct narrator is conventional in a first-person narrative. The blurred narrators are a metafictional construction, imperceptible by the characters in the text. This shows the reality presented in the fiction to be structured by an outside force, the author. To readers, this deconstructs the possibility or perceiving realism in the text. The blurred narrators are also discussed in relation to the recurring Christian imagery and the theme of "self" and "self-perception". The fluid narrator identity presents the image of narrated thoughts, emotions and events as equally shared between the narrators. This is interpreted in relation to the implied reader of the text.