This review is from: Generation A (Kindle Edition)
Whenever I pick up a book by Douglas Coupland, I suspend any expectation of a conventional plotline or narrative and brace myself for the quirky. In this sense, "Generation A" doesn't disappoint with its near futuristic setting and the premise that bee stings in a world where bees have become extinct become a sort of national and scientific phenomenon.
The 5 characters who are as disparate in terms of geographical background as they are in personality (though they are all twenty-somethings, and presumably the Generation A of their times) headline each chapter, and the first part of the novel opens promisingly enough, when their shared experience creates a kind of bond between them, even as they are prodded and pricked as individual scientific experiments by corporate scientists who try to establish a cause to this unlikely occurrence.
However, by the middle of the novel, one gets the idea that Coupland has written a whole bunch of (engaging enough) short stories which he felt he had to plug into the novel in a self-conscious attempt to "[explore] new ways of storytelling in a digital world" (as the inner flap of the book jacket boasts). He does explain the reason for these stories that the characters tell one another and tie up all the loose ends in a shocking way at the end of the novel, though by then I felt disengaged by the narrative. In some ways, I felt he was channelling Canadian contemporary Chuck Palahniuk's earlier novel "Haunted", where a group a characters are bundled into a secret writers' retreat, though that was a far more grisly work, and I would be loathe to suggest any plagiarism on Coupland's part, since the settings and storylines are vastly different.