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NEW! Big Mall: Shopping for Meaning

NEW! Big Mall: Shopping for Meaning

By Coach House Date: February 13, 2024


Happy pub day to Kate Black's Big Mall: Shopping for Meaning!

Kate Black grew up in West Edmonton Mall – a mall on steroids, notorious for its indoor waterpark, deadly roller coaster, and controversial dolphin shows. But everyone has a favourite mall, or a mall that is their own personal memory place. It's a place people love to hate and hate to love – a site of pleasure and pain, of death and violence, of (sub)urban legend. 

Blending a history of shopping with a story of coming of age in North America's largest and strangest mall, Big Mall investigates how these structures have become the ultimate symbol of late-capitalist dread – and, surprisingly, a subversive site of hope.



"[A] keen appraisal of malls’ social import." – Publishers Weekly

"Big Mall traces the relatively young concept of ‘the mall’ from its origins during the post-World War II years to the more recent ‘one-stop, bigger than ever, world-class entertainment’ ambitions of places like West Edmonton Mall. We learn about the origins of the mall as a concept, the post-War economic prosperity that allowed them to happen, and the aspiring families that made them a reality."
– Logan Macnair, The British Columbia Review

"Speaking as a child of PacSun and Hot Topic myself, Big Mall is like a madeleine dipped in Orange Julius. Like a mall, the book itself has a lot of everything, a sublime mix of memoir, history, and cultural criticism. Kate Black is a learned Virgil in the consumerist Inferno, always avoiding the obvious and leading us to surprising connections—oil, suicide, Reddit, squatters, dolphins. Whether malls fill you with nostalgia or horror, this book will change your relationship to the world we've constructed around us.”
– Tony Tulathimutte, author of Private Citizens

"Before there was Instagram, there was the mall. But what happens when a seasonless, tacky, fantasyland is all you knew growing up? How does one embrace a genuinely fake experience? Or to be more precise, a fake but genuine experience? Kate Black’s Big Mall is a smart, sentimental, and perspective-shifting look at the outsized role that big malls play in modern life. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, one thing’s for sure: after reading this book, you’ll never look at a mall in the same way again."
– Ziya Tong, Science broadcaster & author of The Reality Bubble