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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If at first...
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...
Published on 24 April 2005 by lisa-zc

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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
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...
Published on 2 Mar 2009 by bloodsimple


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If at first..., 24 April 2005
This review is from: Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (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
This review is from: Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (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
By 
bloodsimple (nottingham, uk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (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 "mattpucci.com" (Here, there and everywhere) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 5 Jan 2006
By 
Ms. F. M. Stygall "CornflowerBlue" (Preston, Lancs, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (Paperback)
Generation X has become something of an 'our song' between myself and my friends. Deeply moving and subtly bitter, without ever being in any way 'normal', it is the lives of three highly intelligent people who have effectively dropped out from society.
Their backgrounds aren't always clear, and there are moments of very modern identification - Dag declares himself 'a lesbian in a man's body', while Andy is pained by his younger brother's apparently infallible capitalist happiness. It's a strange and broken novel, and there is no clear ending, but it's also a beautiful novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artistic and poetic. An inspiring piece of work, 5 Nov 2004
By 
Mike (Liverpool, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (Paperback)
Coupland writes with so much poetry in one sentence, that you could fill a gorge just with the thoughts it creates.
Generation x is about three friends, Andy, Clare and Dag, who have moved out to the Arizona desert to escape modern city life. They tell beautiful stories to pass the time and to make each other think and they make the reader think too.
The book combines the wonderful tales the characters makes and the situations that they are going through at the same time. The apathy of the three characters really links with the reader and the stories, metaphors and similies give a real "woah" moment as you look away and think. In all, it's got to be Coupland's best works despite the smallness of the book. It's just simply beautiful. You must read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars without doubt the best book i have ever read, 11 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (Paperback)
This was my first coupland experience & the only drawback to that is that it has spoilt me. the only book that comes close is Microserfs. I read 3/4 of this book sitting in a coffee bar for 2 houirs waiting to see a client in newcastle! read this book just read the book. it's enlightning, refreshing, reassuring & VERY tempting. BUY THIS BOOK!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Defines a generation., 4 Jan 2005
This review is from: Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (Paperback)
When I started reading this book I thought I was going to hate it, with it's footnotes of generation X buzz terms and random billboard-esque slogans like 'the love of meat prevents any real change' and 'use jets while you still can', I hated the fact that there were characters named 'Dag' and 'Tobias' too, all these things made me reluctant to persevere with the reading. But persevere I did and as the book progressed I grew to love Dag, Claire and Andy and their zany catchphrases and cynical stories. I actually became engrossed in their lives and the book became a real page turner, I even laughed at some of the foot notes. By the end of the book though I had a melancholy feeling, this book is witty, modern and unusual and it's colourful language actually inspired me but being of the 'generation X' myself it made me so sad too, I related a lot to the empty feeling Coupland often refers to and I felt it really spoke to me about my mid-twenties generation and made a lot of, quite depressing, sense.
A really good thing about this book from a readers point of view is that it has very short chapters of about 4 pages on average. I'm quite a fidgety reader and tend to pick up and put down a book several times during a day rather than sitting and reading for several hours at a time, the short chapter length helped me to do this without losing the thread of the story. I would actually now like to read more of Coupland's work, he has quite a unique style and it took me a while to get into his rhythm but now I have I'd like to experience more of it! All in all a very enjoyable yarn!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets me every time, 24 Nov 2002
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This review is from: Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (Paperback)
I can't remember how many times I've read Generation X now. Not an obsessive amount, but every so often I need to re-read it as a kind of "touching base." On Saturday, as I packed to spend the weekend at my parents' house, where I grew up, I felt the need for something familiar, easy to read and touching, that would leave me comforted yet introspective.
But this is just my relationship with the book. The main narrative concerns three late-twenty-somethings living in a southern California resort town, somewhere anonymous in the desert. All are working in no-responsibility jobs, none have any idea what to do with their lives. Having grown up with the Cold War they're always expecting an apocalyptic end to their world of sun-baked desert and faceless industrial shopping malls.
Their conversations and rented bungalows are scattered with references to previous post-war decades in which everything seemed more certain and whose pop-culture seems like an escape from that of today. As the years pass since the book's publication it's becoming apparent that the world in which its set is just another past decade whose sayings and culture are ripe for ironic vultures. But every time I read it I find something that's relevant to my world (if "Legislated Nostalgia: To force a body of people to have memories they do not actually possess" doesn't hit I Love the 19x0s where it hurts, I don't know what does).
If you can, forget the whole Gen X thing that floated around back in the nineties, which is far too much baggage for this little story to carry. Well, "stories" would be more appropriate. There's little plot here, but the characters spend much of their time telling each other romantic and doom-filled (and impossibly eloquent) tales; thankfully this is Coupland's forte.
This could all sound a bit earnest and it is in places, but I can forgive the characters their occasional self-importance because their stories and lives never fail to get me where it counts, in my easily-touched heart.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable - completely amazing, 1 July 2002
This review is from: Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (Paperback)
Don't even bother to read my humble review...go and buy this book RIGHT NOW! By far Coupland's finest novel. If you are already a fan, I assume you've already read Generation X as it is essentially the foundation for all that is Coupland. If you haven't read any of his books, this is certainly the way to start, if you want the full impact of Coupland's unique style of expression and imagery. If, however, you'd prefer a more subdued introduction, go for All Families Are Psychotic or Shampoo Planet, but at some point everyone must read Generation X! The images and stories Coupland incorporates into this novel are a combination of beauty, sadness, loneliness, humour and pure imagination. Unbelievable, that's all I can say - read it.
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Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Douglas Coupland (Paperback - 7 Nov 1996)
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