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Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture Paperback – 7 Nov 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (7 Nov. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349108390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349108391
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A new age J.D Sallinger on smart drugs. (TIME OUT **)

Dizzying sparkle and originality. (THE TIMES, **)

Quirky, witty, with an affection for its characters which lifts it above the level of such as Bret Easton Ellis's 'Less than Zero. (MAIL ON SUNDAY **)

A Landmark book. (DAILY TELEGRAPH **)

Book Description

Andy, Dag and Claire represent the new generation - Generation X.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "lisa-zc" on 24 April 2005
Format: Paperback
I have read all of Douglas Coupland's fiction and think he is an immensely thought-provoking and inspiring author. "Generation X" was the first of his novels I read and I have to admit at that time I didn't really get into the book or enjoy it much. However, I then read "Life After God" and loved it. It was only after reading several of his other novels that I decided to have another go at "Genereation X". What a revelation! I have to say that I don't understand why I didn't enjoy it the first time. It is an amazing book. The narrative is full of inciteful observations about friendship and finding meaning within modern Western society. It is a book I have now read several times and it never ceases to amaze and amuse me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book, it is a light read, and all the more compelling because essentially nothing happens. Despite their eccentric personalities and life-choices, the characters are believable for this reason in so far as they are the mouthpiece of alienation and the lack of a coherent world-view.
Despite the other review, this book *is* an attempt at characterising post-modenity, and explicitly so. More specifically it is a very 90s trendy post modernism and its characters belong to the nineties world. This is a good thing in itself, but already makes the book somewhat nostalgic for me only nine years later, and will date its relevance considerably in the long term.
Especial pleasure came for me when nearing the end, I realised (without giving anything away) that the three central characters with their McJobs (a nod to Ritzer I think), complaining to one another and terminal lack of ambition are despite everything....happy. At least so long as they have the company of other like minded people to tell their bedtime stories to.
Incidentally the footnote definition of 'bambification' kept me laughing all day.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By bloodsimple on 2 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
Okay, let's be clear. I'm the exact demographic for this novel. And I recognised pretty much all the references it makes. And I like witty cynicism. Hell, I've even been to Palm Springs. So it isn't as if I "didn't get it" or that it somehow "went over my head".

I can live with the fact that there's no plot, no character develops or changes, or that there is no pace or drive to the narrative. The problem with this book is that, like Coupland's other efforts, it is less than the sum of its parts.

The cynical, I-always-see-through-marketing-hype style grates very early on. All three of the characters basically sound the same, act the same, and think the same. There is no spark or conflict between them - they all agree on pretty much everything. The smug "I'm cool because I'm deliberately a slacker" attitude is morally and ethically empty - it's a dismal anti-choice that teaches the reader nothing about anything.

Bits I enjoyed? The small definitions at the bottom weren't bad, in the same way they would (and really should) have been if they'd appeared as minor asides in a daily newspaper. Some of them seemed forced and shoehorned into an arch definition. And occasionally, when Coupland trusted himself not to play a smarmy, wisecracking slacker, the description can work well.

Overall, I wonder if there's simply something about books that claim to `define the zeitgeist', or `capture the mood of a generation'. This didn't. It didn't get close - just ramming product names into the narrative and then saying how stupid they are, doesn't say anything of any consequence at all. But then, I hated Catcher in the Rye as well, and everyone tells me I'm a philistine to hold such a view. This book didn't speak to me of my place, time, life, attitudes or habits. It was just three annoying people in the desert, feeling inordinately pleased with themselves for no particular reason.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By wittywriter on 29 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
Back in 1989 a little known Canadian writer called Douglas Coupland (pronounced Copeland), took off for the Californian desert city of Palm Springs to write a handbook for the post boomer generation, or at least that's what his publisher thought. It turned out Coupland had other ideas and "Generation X" was his first attempt at fiction. The story goes that when he turned in the manuscript his publisher was aghast and it was only at the prompting of younger staff whom identified with it that it was finally published. In time the book became a huge success, and in what is probably the biggest irony in a book seemingly defined by it, the title became the term used by marketing and the media to identify a generation whose motto could easily have been the title of one of its chapters: "I Am Not a Target Market".

Whilst Coupland denied he was ever the spokesperson for a generation or that Gen X was ever more than a collection of attitudes and behaviors, I think he captured something important. His words resonated with young people of a certain age who didn't identify with the boomer mentality and looked for cultural markers that more closely matched their own experience.

I first came across Gen X a decade ago in a London bookstore, and it certainly provided welcome relief from the rain and rigors of day to day living. Sometimes it's scary to see how tenuous the thread of meaning is in ones existence, in those days held together by little more than a few good books and the odd day spent goofing off work. I'm put in mind of a day many years ago; I was at Heathrow Airport, a regular haunt for me then, and I realized I would not remember the endless, crappy days spent doing meaningless jobs, so unimportant were they in the overall scheme of things.
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