Thursday, May 15, 2014

Generation X


Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture has been a book I've been wanting to read for years. Even if you don't think it represents all of Generation X (and I don't think it does), it popularized the term. For that alone, I think it is an important book. I've read several of Douglas Coupland's other novels and enjoyed them all. I could have chosen a different Coupland book that I own and haven't read, but Generation X had been waiting too long.

If Generation X was the book of Gen X, then the television show of Gen X was Friends. Though there are only three members of Generation X's group of friends, I found the characters similar, though not the same. Claire very much reminded me of Rachel, but Claire had a certain aloofness that I appreciated. Early on in the novel, I felt like the entire book had been written with a sense of irony. The tone is very similar to the early seasons of Friends. Generation X is not a comedy, but I feel like if you were a fan of the show, you'd like the book.

I found the characters intriguing and I'm a sucker for good characters. Claire made some interesting life choices. Dag did too. Andy was a great narrator. I enjoyed the way he explained things about Dag, Claire, and his life through story. I really liked that the characters told stories to each other. What I found Generation X didn't have was a tangible plot. I don't know if it needed one, but I've been reading a lot of plot heavy books lately and with this book not having one, initially I missed it. Stuff happens in the novel, with personal and familial relationships, jobs, life choices. They just aren't related a clear way. The characters have no goal, no mystery to solve or treasure to find.

One part early on that I found funny and ironic, in a non-intentional sort of way, was when Andy was talking about communicating in short blurbs.... If only these guys knew about Twitter and other social media! I don't know what Andy would think of 140 characters or less. In some ways, I can relate to these characters, but since this book is so 90s, it's almost a period piece. Does that make sense?

Will Generation X be a modern classic? I don't know, but I think it might be. I'm not sure what else I can say about this novel. It made me think a lot. I like to think sometimes. 

2 comments:

  1. I have always wanted to read this book too, but as I get older feel less interested. Maybe it's the title ... I didn't know there was a lack of plot. I think I would miss that too.

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    1. I think it's a book that should be read. Maybe you should read it sooner rather than later. I think the book might have resonated more with me if I'd actually read it in the 90s or at least the early 2000s. I did enjoy it though. It's the fourth or fifth of Coupland's books I've read and it certainly won't be the last.

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