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Generation X
By Douglas Coupland
9/10 from 1 review
Categories: American Fiction
Buy at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
1 review
Gets me every time
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.
Rating: 9/10
Link to this review
Posted by Phil on Mon, 30th September 2002, 1:37pm
1 review