Generation X by Douglas Coupland
Tales for an Accelerated Culture

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Synopsis

Generation X is Douglas Coupland's acclaimed salute to the generation born in the late 1950s and 1960s--a generation known vaguely up to then as "twentysomething."

Andy, Claire, and Dag, each in their twenties, have quit "pointless jobs done grudgingly to little applause" in their respective hometowns and cut themselves adrift on the California desert. In search of the drastic changes that will lend meaning to their lives, they've mired themselves in the detritus of American cultural memory. Refugees from history, the three develop an ascetic regime of story-telling, boozing, and working McJobs--"low-pay, low-prestige, low-benefit, no-future jobs in the service industry." They create modern fables of love and death among the cosmetic surgery parlors and cocktail bars of Palm Springs, disturbingly funny tales of nuclear waste, historical overdosing, and mall culture.

A dark snapshot of the trio's highly fortressed inner world quickly emerges--landscapes peopled with dead TV shows, "Elvis moments," and semi-disposable Swedish furniture. And from these landscapes, deeper portraits emerge, those of fanatically independent individuals, pathologically ambivalent about the future and brimming with unsatisfied longings for permanence, for love, and for their own home. Andy, Dag, and Claire are underemployed, overeducated, intensely private, and unpredictable. Like the group they mirror, they have nowhere to assuage their fears, and no culture to replace their anomie.

 

About Douglas Coupland

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Douglas Coupland was born December 30, 1961 on a Canadian military base in Baden-Soellingen, Germany. He graduated from Sentinel Secondary School in West Vancouver in 1979 and went on to McGill University. He was unhappy there and went on to Emily Carr College of Art and Design. He has said that these were the best four years of his life. He graduated in 1984 with a focus on sculpture and moved on to study at the European Design Institute in Milan. He also completed a two-year course in Japanese business science in Hawaii in 1986.He soon began writing for magazines as a means of paying the bills. He soon started work on his first novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture which was published in 1991. His second novel Shampoo Planet focused on the generation after Generation X and was published in 1992. This generation was termed "Global Teens". His career has consisted of writing, sculpting, and editing and he also hosted The Search for Generation X, a PBS documentary, 1991. Douglas Coupland has also worked on a magazine called Wired . He wrote a short story about the life of the employees of Mocrosoft Corporation. This short story provided inspiration for his novel Microserfs.
 
Published March 15, 1991 by St. Martin's Griffin. 192 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Generation X

The Guardian

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"Home is like one of those ageing European cities like Bonn or Antwerp or Vienna or Zürich, where there are no young people and it feels like an expensive waiting room."

Sep 11 2009 | Read Full Review of Generation X: Tales for an Ac...

The Guardian

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Ever since his first book, Generation X, Douglas Coupland has done the best epigraphs.

Aug 28 2009 | Read Full Review of Generation X: Tales for an Ac...

The Guardian

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Coupland uses Harj to comment on the apparent inability of Americans (Harj calls them "Craigs") to engage with foreign cultures and some of his observations are very funny.

Sep 12 2009 | Read Full Review of Generation X: Tales for an Ac...

The Guardian

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The three central characters in his novel - Andy and his friends Claire and Dag - may be individualised, but they are preoccupied by social typology and the categories into which they themselves fall.

Sep 18 2009 | Read Full Review of Generation X: Tales for an Ac...

The Guardian

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And I still wonder what might have happened to that painfully skinny, strangely clueless Doug who moved off to the desert in 1989, a parallel-universe Doug whose publishers never did, in the end, publish his book.

Sep 25 2009 | Read Full Review of Generation X: Tales for an Ac...

AV Club

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for Julien, the sting took away a life “like a video game that resets to zero every time I wake up.” It’s in these details, not the overall picture, that readers will find the generation of which Vonnegut spoke, though as with Coupland’s Generation X, it isn’t a complete portrait.

Nov 05 2009 | Read Full Review of Generation X: Tales for an Ac...

The Telegraph

The five victims – including Zack, a .

Sep 20 2009 | Read Full Review of Generation X: Tales for an Ac...

The Telegraph

Generation A is set about 2020 and its .

Sep 02 2009 | Read Full Review of Generation X: Tales for an Ac...

The Bookbag

Our five main characters, after being stung, are quickly whisked away from their normal day to day lives and held in total isolation, no human contact, no books, no TV, no music, nothing to help them relax or think or feel.

Oct 06 2012 | Read Full Review of Generation X: Tales for an Ac...

Book Geeks

Generation X, a tale of youth in revolt against an increasingly consumerist society, was Douglas Coupland’s hugely successful first novel and he has returned, with moderate success, to the same style of framed narrative for his most recent offering, Generation A.

Nov 09 2009 | Read Full Review of Generation X: Tales for an Ac...

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Michael Manley 18 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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