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Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture [Paperback]

Douglas Coupland
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

7 Nov 1996

Andy, Dag and Claire have been handed a society beyond their means. Twentysomethings, brought up with divorce, Watergate and Three Mile Island, and scarred by the 80s fallout of yuppies, recession, crack and Ronald Reagan, they represent the new generation- Generation X.

Fiercely suspicious of being lumped together as an advertiser's target market, they have quit dreary careers and cut themselves adrift in the California desert. Unsure of their futures, they immerse themselves in a regime of heavy drinking and working in no future McJobs in the service industry.

Underemployed, overeducated and intensely private and unpredicatable, they have nowhere to direct their anger, no one to assuage their fears, and no culture to replace their anomie. So they tell stories: disturbingly funny tales that reveal their barricaded inner world. A world populated with dead TV shows, 'Elvis moments' and semi-disposible Swedish furniture.


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Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture + Less Than Zero
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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: 12.3 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If at first... 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
4.0 out of 5 stars 90s postmodernism 1 Jun 2005
By A Customer
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
2.0 out of 5 stars Smug and overly pleased with itself 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
4.0 out of 5 stars "Adventure Without Risk is Disneyland" 6 Aug 2007
By Matt Pucci VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I was mildly disappointed when I read this for the first time recently as I was expecting something a little more fast-paced, a little edgier. Perhaps this was because I - erroneously, as it turns out - associated the title with grunge music, a hybrid of punk, indie-rock and heavy metal that reached its peak in the early nineties - right about the time Generation X was first published. In fact, the title refers to a generation slightly older than me and the majority of grunge fans, and there is no mention of Nirvana et al in this, Douglas Coupland's debut novel.

The story itself is a gentle, somewhat uneventful tale of three friends who, having become increasingly disillusioned with the soulless pursuits of the yuppie/baby boom generation, relocate to the Mojave desert, in California. Here, they tell each other stories ("memories of Earth") not merely as a way of passing the time but in an attempt to re-discover their humanity. If the topics of these stories seem lofty and language employed to tell them pretentious, then it's entirely deliberate, Coupland capturing the "overeducated, intensely private and unpredictable" nature of his characters in a touching and wonderfully ironic style.

What intrigued me most about this book, however, was the impressive glossary of terms and slogans found at the foot of the pages. Wryly observed, and for the most part, searingly funny, they reveal as much (if not more) about the generation Coupland is concerned with. And if you recognise yourself in any these descriptions, fear not! You are surely not alone. I for one have been guilty of "Ultra Short Term Nostalgia" and "Musical Hairsplitting" in my time, and have come pretty close to a "Mid-twenties Breakdown" once or twice...

In conclusion, Generation X isn't an overly thrilling read, but it is a lyrical, insightful and romantic book that remains an iconic and culturally significant work of fiction.

Matt Pucci
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Dust gatherer
Not what I was expecting but not worth the hassle of returning
Published 2 months ago by Geoffrey R. Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, too bad the sender's idea of 'Very Good' and mine don't...
I am sure Coupland's books will be a page turner given the state that the book arrived at my house: well worn, yellowing pages, some nicks and scratches. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Colin J. Savage
3.0 out of 5 stars not sure what all the fuss is about
I would agree with the reviewer that says this book is hideously dated (at least style wise, anyway). Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mr. N. J. Milton
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book ...
Highly recommended. Coupland I don't think has ever matched 'Generation X', but we can't hold that against him. A tough act to follow. Read more
Published 18 months ago by J. Craven
5.0 out of 5 stars Gen X
Superb book, but mainly writing this so I don't get any more emails recommending it me. I've read it roughly 15 times ffs.
Published 20 months ago by Mark
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylistic
Whilst this is not my favorite of his book (I would probs rank it about 4th or 5th) I would still recommend it. Read more
Published 21 months ago by claire mason
4.0 out of 5 stars The book of the IT age
This is one of the key books of the1990's in which he gets characters to act and tell stories about their life and so reveal their attitudes. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Rf And Tm Walters
5.0 out of 5 stars the first major work of a important and thought provoking voice.
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... Read more
Published on 29 Sep 2012 by wittywriter
2.0 out of 5 stars A Flourish of Style With Little Substance
Come up with a catchy title, Generation X, and chose a topic that gives a sense of significance, alienation, or to paraphrase the beatnik edict turn on, tune in and drop out; and... Read more
Published on 7 Jun 2012 by Herman Norford
3.0 out of 5 stars Jaded? you will be
Thought I'd reviewed this but cd find no trace. It's undoubtedly clever, and cheerfully heartless, though its satirical edge strokes rather than grazes - I suppose its shallow good... Read more
Published on 17 Jan 2012 by Simon Barrett
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