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Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated…

Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (1991)

by Douglas Coupland

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Not sure I understand all the reviews posted online whining about how pretentious this book is. The 90s WERE pretentious. But then I think every generation has their own version of it. Sadly, we didn't know how good we had in the 90s with our crappy cubicle jobs, now THOSE don't even exist. Coupland's "Life After God" is still by far my favorite work of his, followed by "The Gum Thief". ( )
  viviennestrauss | Mar 18, 2015 |
As a “member” of Generation X, I avoided this book for years. I’m forty-four now and so it was high time I found out what this was all about. Part of my reluctance to explore it was my misconception that this is a non-fiction book. Wrong. It’s fiction, though it comes spliced with cheeky slogans, cartoons, new word definitions and even, at the end, some purposefully baleful statistics. When all is said and done for me this book was an OK time, but nothing shocking, nothing special. It seems to inhabit some land between Less Than Zero and Fight Club, books I enjoyed on first read, but there’s not much plot here, just three friends hiding out in Palm Springs in the early 90s, not eager to blindly join their parents in home ownership, careers, possession-gathering or much else really. It’s hard to say where Coupland stands with this misanthropic group, whether he endorses them or merely exhibits them. I have a feeling it’s the latter. He appears to have found something interesting in the cultural water and figures it’s worth looking at up close. Ultimately, though, what passes for intellection with these characters is merely thoughts of transparent amoebas. They’re young and shiny new and want to prove themselves in the world. Fine and good, but don’t look for heavy insight or gripping plot here.
( )
  sixslug | Jan 18, 2015 |
A book written in 1990 describing what baby boomers/yuppies did to the country. Could easily be about today, the way things that were annoying then are now extreme. It was also like a trip down memory lane. ( )
  zmagic69 | Jul 11, 2014 |
Wow, talk about reading a book at the right time in your life. If you’re in your twenties, fresh out of college, and in that phase where you’re trying to get your life sorted out, this is the book for you.

We live in a time where our options are limited and we’re forced to conform to “the system” – AKA you can’t get a good job without a college degree and most of us can’t get a college degree without putting ourselves into overwhelming debt, and then we can’t get jobs without experience but we can’t get experience without jobs. It’s a vicious cycle, but one we’re forced into. My father didn’t go to college but was still able to get a job that paid well enough to put him into the upper middle class. That’s not an option my generation has, and there’s this whole sense of “wtf is the point then?” among us.

Everything is bigger than us. Giant corporations control what we buy and what we can afford, the bank more or less controls everything else, including whether or not we’re qualified for a home, a car, or other things life has taught us are necessities but we learn are often outside our reach. Our protests don’t mean much, and the person with more money always seems to win. It’s frustrating to feel so small, and I think Generation X can be summed up by the following:

“We know that this is why the three of us left our lives behind us and came to the desert – to tell stories and to make our own lives worthwhile tales in the process.”

I love it. I love the idea of living my life through a story, because we all want our lives to have meaning. And the jealousy Andy feels at realizing the Baby Boomers hit the “genetic lottery” (able to attain good jobs and various luxuries without having to throw oneself into a lifetime of debt) is something I personally feel every time another student loan bill shows up in my mailbox or I get a call from a collection agent. The desire for a simpler time, to just run away to the desert and escape everything, resonates within me, and in that regard I really feel like I connected with this book.

I wouldn’t consider this a traditional book by any means. I didn’t really care for the characters so much as the ideas of the book. There wasn’t really a story (there were lots of tales within the book, but not really a cohesive storyline) – it was more the existence of the characters. I have no problem with this, but some might, so I thought it worth mentioning. However, the ending was really weird, I’m not going to lie. I’m still not sure what happened exactly, except perhaps Andy had some sort of spiritual experience he felt gave his life meaning. It’s my best guess. And the ending did throw me a bit, because it didn’t feel like it was part of the main book. But honestly, I loved this book too much to really care, because I felt like it was the truth of today written in a book. ( )
  BookishMatters | Nov 27, 2013 |
The first time I read Catcher in the Rye, it was just a right place right time kind of thing. I loved it because it was a revelation that someone out there just got what it was like to feel how I felt. That was high school. Looking back, a lot of other kids probably felt the same way, but at the time, it truly felt like it was written just for me.
It's over a decade later now, and Generation X is the Catcher in the Rye of my nearly-30s. Even though it was written for and about people a decade or two older than me, it found its way to me at just the right time. It's funny the way we tend to think we're oh so different than people from other generations. But when you read a book like this one, you see a lot more of the similarities. ( )
  amyolivia | Oct 25, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Douglas Couplandprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fastenau, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuitenbrouwer, JanContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Her hair was totally 1950s Indina Woolworth perfume

clerk. You know-sweet and dumb-she'll marry her way

out of the trailer park some day soon. But the dress was

early '60s Aeroflot stewardess-you know-that really sad

blue the Russians used before they all started wanting to

buy Sonys and having Guy Laroche design their Politburo

caps. And such make-up! Perfect '70s Mary Quant, with

these little PVC floral appliqué earrings that looked like

antiskid bathtub stickers from a gay Hollywood tub circe

1956. She really caught the sadness-she was the hippest

person there. Totally."

"They're my children. Adults or not, I just can't kick them

out of the house. It would be cruel. And besides-they're

great cooks."

First words
Back in the late 1970s, when I was fifteen years old, I spent every penny I then had in the bank to fly across the continent in a 747 jet to Brandon, Manitoba, deep in the Canadian prairies, to witness a total eclipse of the sun.
"You see, when you're middle class, you have to live with the fact that history will ignore you. You have to live with the fact that history will never champion your causes and that history will never feel sorry for you. It is the price paid for day-to-day comfort and silence. And because of this price, all happinesses are sterile; all sadnesses go unoticed. And any small moments of intense, flaring beauty such as this morning's will be utterly forgotten, dissolved by time like a super-8 film left out in the rain, without sound, and quickly replaced by thousands of silently growing trees."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031205436X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:44 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Three twenty-something young adults, working at low-paying, no-future jobs, tell one another modern tales of love and death.

» see all 2 descriptions

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