The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary Life: Tales from the Coffee Shop (Oxford University Press, 2015).
Our everyday lives are enmeshed in storytelling: the stories we tell about our memories, the people we know, and the world we inhabit; those we tell about our families and communities; and the narratives we encounter in movies, books, and television. Narrative structures how we view not only ourselves but also everything around us.
Written in his favourite coffee shop in an engaging, first-person style, sprinkled liberally with irony and humour, and relying heavily on narrative itself, Randall draws from experiences in his own life - especially in the coffee shop - to illustrate various concepts in narrative psychology. His inquiry also takes him to the topics of gossip and rumor and the narrative complexity of nostalgia in our everyday lives. He devotes a whole chapter, in fact, to the role that stories play in our experience of friendship, romance, and love. He contemplates the storied nature of the news as well, and by extension, of history. He also discusses the nature of spirituality and religion as "master narratives." Drawing upon the work of Dan McAdams and other narrative thinkers, he discusses how the stories people internalize and tell inside themselves, plus those they tell others (and there can be significant differences between the two!) reveal a great deal about the way they interpret and experience the world around them, ultimately arguing that the recurring themes in people's life stories shape their personalities in profoundly intricate ways.