Karen Valby
October 05, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Wait for an insomnia jag, and then read Douglas Coupland’s latest in one long, solitary night. A 43-year-old sad-sack drunk leaves his blistering diary, including a manuscript riffing on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, in the break room at Staples; his twenty-something Goth co-worker stumbles upon it and starts writing letters to him. These wildly differing perspectives merge beautifully into one cohesive look at loneliness and despair. Yes, Coupland is dark and cutting about our fluorescent-lit times, but there’s also a real underlayer of gratitude in The Gum Thief, for the hand that can reach down and unite with you in the darkness. A-

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