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Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture Paperback – March 15, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“A groundbreaking novel.” ―The Los Angeles Times
“Captures the listlessness that accompanies growing up in today's info-laden culture.” ―Rolling Stone
“Amusingly explores the more restless and disaffected segment of the under-30 crowd.” ―Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A readable and valid account of a generation that envisions a completely new genuine genre of bohemianism.” ―San Francisco Chronicle
Top Customer Reviews
A series of stories about a group of young people in Palm Springs, telling each other stories while they work pointless McJobs and glory in cultural wreckage. The book's strength is mostly in its moments-- the definitions and epigrams on the margins of the pages, the stories that the characters tell each other, and the tiny observational zingers about the American nature that are the hallmark of Coupland's writing.
I'm glad I read it.
It is a fairy tale type book with a set of post-modern lessons, taught by twentysomething, burned-out friends. It is just right for anyone who's grown up next to a nuclear power plant and freaked out when they test the meltdown sirens, or for anyone who has been stuck in an awful temp gig and fantasized about dropping out to work at a McDonalds and drink gin at noon. There is just something so appealing about the journey of the protagonists that you can read it and feel like you've escaped from life too.
Always funny, very ironic, and filled with droll slang ripe for appropriation, this book is a fantastic vacation on paper.
Coupland claims that he never intended to speak for his own, or any, generation in this book. He took the "X" in the title from Paul Fussell's hilarious and intentionally inflammatory book "Class". In its final chapter, called "The X Way Out", Fussell discusses people who attempt to evade the rigid American class system. These people attempt to work outside this system and avoid, in Fussell's words, "...some of the envy and ambition that pervert so many." Arguably, Coupland's "Generation X" presents portraits of three "X people": Andy, Dag, and Claire (Coupland uses this phrase only twice in the book in tandem with the Japanese phrase "shin jin rui" or "X generation" which represents a generation "purposefully hiding itself"). They have escaped (though not completely) by moving to Palm Springs and working less ambitious jobs than their school mates. They also share stories with one another on a regular basis. Why they do this gets printed explicitly in the following passage from the book's first chapter: "Either our lives become stories, or there's just no way to get through them.Read more ›
Andy, the protagonist, is a very realistic and plausible character. He does nothing that is unfathomable. The novel is based on complete formula fiction, and has an original plot that must be interpreted. It stays away from the Hollywood stereotype theme, the boy meets girl, fall in love, etc... The theme is developed with an apparent meaning. Coupland openly shares and describes his views on what consumerism has become in America. He talks about how our culture today gives us nothing to go on, and how we sometimes feel alienated. Therefore, we are a society based on consumerism because it is the only thing that is given to us to identify ourselves with. Andy, Claire, and Dag create their own lifestyle in the desert because of how they are excluded from the outside world. People can only identify themselves by what they posses, and how much of it. It is an unfortunate problem that has appeared in America's society that is trapping young adults.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ground Zero for books on the subject. I finally picked up a copy for my own shelf. If you are into generational theory, this is one of the definitives.Published 4 months ago by Sarah
An incredible read, that studies the stories of three Gen X characters. A glossary of terms that applies to the dilemmas of Gen X-ers runs alongside the text, adding to both the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by ravads
Brilliant look at the era of the early 90's, with us disaffected gen-x'ers sardonically moping around and looking inward towards our too-young-to-be-jaded selves. Read morePublished 18 months ago by dj