Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
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Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  16,959 ratings  ·  714 reviews
Andy, Dag and Claire have been handed a society priced beyond their means. Twentysomethings, brought up with divorce, Watergate and Three Mile Island, and scarred by the 80s fall-out of yuppies, recession, crack and Ronald Reagan, they represent the new generation - Generation X.
Fiercely suspicious of being lumped together as an advertiser's target market, they have quit d...more
Paperback, 211 pages
Published 1996 by Abacus (first published 1991)
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Greg
For years before reading this book I hated it. I hated it so much. I think at least half of my zines have somewhere the line "Fuck you Coupland" at least once in some rant. My hatred of him was immense, seriously. For example if I had been driving my car and I had seen him I would have run him over. Of course like any good hatred I only had superficial reasons for hating him, I had never read his work, I only saw the catchy looking books and saw them as a disgusting marketing device. And of cour...more
Damien
Young white privilege all dressed up and no where to go
AnneMarie
What a boring and pretentious book. It's the kind of writing that would have seriously impressed me when I was 14, full of consciously witty soundbites.

What I really don't like about it is the glorified loser culture of the early 90s and nearly 18 years later it hasn't aged well and just seems bloated. The decade that everyone thought was the pinnacle of evolution is now looking as bad as the 80s did ten years ago. To highlight this, Coupland's plot doesn't have much as a 'story' per se, instead...more
Paul
Nov 23, 2012 Paul rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
With some things you know exactly what they're going to be like before you experience them and you hope you're proved wrong. I saw "A Mighty Wind" recently and shouldn't have bothered - good film well made and all, but utterly predictable. As was Generation X. DC is a snappy writer, he's Tom Wolfe's kid brother, and this book should have been a collection of smart essays like Kandy Kolored Tangerine Streamlined Baby etc. It doesn't really leave the ground as a story with characters. And also, re...more
Lisa
Credited with terming low-paying/low-status/unsatisfying/dead-end employment as a "McJob" and introducing/popularizing the phrase "Generation X" to the American lexicon, Coupland conveys the lives of three friends as they attempt to escape their collective quarter-life crisis. Using a raw ironic tone that is anything less than subtle, Generation X entwines the exhausted lives of twentysomethings with relevant pop culture references. Choice moments in the novel include Coupland's incorporation of...more
Leftbanker
I give this book five stars even though it really isn't much of a novel, it's mainly just three kids telling stories about how they view the creepy world of consumerism and status. I read this shortly after returning to the States after living a fairly idyllic and isolated life on the Mediterranean. I didn’t really get America when I got back and this was the first novel that I have read that explained why I wasn’t entirely crazy for not being crazy for the American dream. He had a lot of great...more
Joe
Coupland is possibly one of the most over rated one trick pony writers of all time. Pretty much all of his novels are pretentious psuedo intellectual crap masquerading as high brow literature. It's amazing so many people buy into it. His one trick, and only claim to fame, is coining the phrase Generation X to describe the aimless post baby boomer generation who appear in this, his first novel of the same name. Frankly I was bored and unimpressed when I read this at the height of its popularity....more
Davie Bennett
Loved it. Short little vignettes from the lives of three twentysomethings trying to define and describe their rapidly changing world and suss out some meaning from their alarmingly empty culture. Containing strong undercurrents of anti-commercialism, fun dialogue, and imaginative storytelling, this book was written in 1991 but feels just as timely today. I was surprised to find myself in these pages, not just in the characters and story, but in some of the tongue-in-cheek marginal definitions as...more
Sophia
I've been thinking about why I still love this book, when I hate movies like Lost in Translation and Reality Bites. I think it's because the characters are so active; Andy, Dag and Claire don't lay around hotel rooms in their underwear or have "planet[s] of regret" on their shoulders (shut up, Ethan Hawke). They have jobs, they do interesting things, they daydream, and most importantly, they tell each other stories. On the flip side, they haven't aggressively dropped out of the mainstream a la K...more
Jennifer Eager
A classic!

The story of 3 young people who give up their high tech jobs and move out to the desert in Palm Springs to work in marginal "McJobs" that allow them time for a quality of life that they would not have if chained inside of a cubicle at a large corporation.

Sometimes funny, sometimes painfully wistful--the characters reflect on popular culture, American Family, and love.
William McCaffrey
Feb 01, 2008 William McCaffrey rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mid tweny to mid thirty hippsters
Overall I liked the book, but I didn't develop any fondness for the primary charcters. As for these carbon-based complainers, I thought they were pretensious, cynical, and were drowinig in early anomie. Gen X is over flowing with Irony which makes it both enjoyable and gives the impression that the author is trying to hard too write something Hip or Cool.

The early 20's to mid 30's Are the target population. The 3 main characters are directionless and are trying to escape evolving technology and...more
W.B.
I realize this is a polarizing book, even after decades have passed. I'm actually glad I read it well into its "afterlife" or wherever it's floating as a book now. As novels go (focusing on the word novel here) I think it's a triumph of beautiful and sometimes virtuosic prose over plot lines that seem a little arbitrary and sometimes mawkish. "Art lies in concealing art," Ovid wrote, and I hate to admit I found certain aspects of this book too contrived (maybe too many stereotypes of the anti-st...more
Oscar Calva
La trascendencia de este libro estriba simplemente en haber popularizado el tan traído y llevado término "Generación X" y el de "McJob", fuera de eso, la novela es totalmente intrascendente.

La trama, prácticamente inexistente, narra la existencia de un grupo de jóvenes adultos durante la época posterior al reaganismo a principios de los noventa. Se podría decir que es un retrato de ciertos estratos de la juventud de esa época, que al contrario de la generación de los baby-boomers ha dejado de c...more
Andrew
Generation X was given their name because the world didn't know what their impact would be. But 20 years on, other than Kurt Cobain, David Foster Wallace, Richard Linklater, and the works of a few other notables, I have to say it's hard figuring out what their impact has been.

It's hard to know what to make of the novel. On the one hand, I enjoyed my time reading Generation X, but on the other hand, it doesn't stick long in the brain. The best parts are the funny little turns of phrase that inhab...more
Colin McKay Miller
Douglas Coupland’s Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture has little conflict until the end of the book. Thing is, I think the author intended it to be that way.

The novel is told in three parts, revolving around three friends, Dag, Claire, and the narrator, Andy. Other characters slip in and out, but the three are the main focus. What do they do? Nothing. They’re Generation X, not baby boomers. They sit around and tell stories—some about themselves, others made-up on the spot—and so bec...more
Andrew
Three individuals, disillusioned by their inability to fit in / accept the emptiness of the image-focused, hustle and bustle, social climbing world around them, escape to the Mojave desert where they tell each other stories, both fact and fiction. They also live their lives, taking on low paying jobs, living meagerly, and generally confusing their family and friends, who can't seem to fully grasp why anyone would need to get away in this fashion.

The book isn't really a coherent narrative so muc...more
Angela
I first read this book when I was twenty and it's always stuck with me, it was one of those rare books that just really spoke to me. This is my second reading of the novel in its entirety, though I do read the last chapter every so often as I find the writing so beautiful. Reading it at the age of thirty I'm impressed, and utterly relieved, that it still holds all its initial charm for me, so much so that I've changed my rating from a four-star to a five-star.
Matthew Scheck
I lived in Europe the entire second half of the 1980s and became completely detached from American culture. When I returned in the early 90s I felt like an alien, thoroughly incapable of understanding all the changes that had occurred while I was away those many years. Coupland's novel Generation X contained so many interesting observations and fundamental truisms about where American culture was going that it helped me grasp all the weirdness I too had observed since returning.

I remember being...more
Avi
There's just one thing I like about this book.

See, "pretentious" is a tough word. It's hard to define, and a lot of the time, when you use it to describe something, you actually end up acting pretentious yourself. Therefore, I'm thrilled to find that this book embodies, at least for me, the perfect definition of the word.

Nothing else about the book was any good at all.
J.T. Therrien
I enjoyed rereading Generation X. I'm too young to be a Boomer and too old to qualify as a Gen-exer, but my youth was more oriented to a Gen-exer's lifestyle than a Yuppy's.

Since my outlook on life has become more spiritual - Catholic spiritual, not New Age spiritual - I can sum up Coupland's tales-within-tales as: secular-minded characters fumbling through life, searching for some meaning/truth other than God.

What you get is Coupland's trio of dysfunctional, highly literate and entertaining sto...more
Drew
It's rare for me to reread a book. Excluding different translations of the Odyssey and reading several Camus books in both English and French, I've probably only reread about 4 or 5 books in my entire life. Even if I love a book, and it's so a part of me, I won't reread it. I might glance at it or flip through to a beloved section, but that's it.

Not so with Generation X. I read this when it came out and at some time in the late 90s, probably preparing for a move, I donated the book to our local...more
Petya
Ich fand ganz viele Episoden ziemlich merkwürdig, schwer nachvollziehbar, manche sogar schier langweilig! – aber immerzu musste ich staunen, dass ich so viele Ähnlichkeiten entdeckte zwischen Generation X und der Generation Y, zu der ich angeblich gehöre.

Die 80-90er in America, irgendwo in der Wüste, mit den Autos, dem Rauchen, den Klamotten und den komischen Familienbeziehungen – das war mir fremd und ebenso befremdlich. Allerdings gab es viel, was ich in meiner Realität wiedererkenne. Bekannt...more
Vanessa
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture is the first novel published by Douglas Coupland in 1991. It follows the lives of three friends - Andy, Dag, and Claire - who live in rented bungalows in Palm Springs, California. They all work 'McJobs' - jobs that are underpaid, that they are over-educated for, and that have no real prospects - and spend the rest of their time drinking and telling each other stories, in order to vent their frustrations with the current climate.

I enjoyed this read,...more
Johann Guenther
COUPLAND, Douglas: "Generation X. Geschichten fuer eine immer schneller werdende Kultur", Muenchen 1991
Ein schon älteres „Kultbuch“, das ich erst jetzt lese, wo ich eine Vorlesung über „"Cultural difference Management" und "International Business Negotiation" vorbereite. Ein Buch, das mit praktischen Lebensbeispielen die Theorie der „Generation X“ veranschaulicht. Ein interessanter Stil. Interessant zu lesen, wenngleich es schon Geschichte ist.
Interessant auch die Definitionen, die als Randanmer...more
Brandy
It says something about this book that when I put "Generation X" into the Amazon-powered search field to find the little link and picture above, I get approximately 9500 hits. Yes, the vast majority are not direct hits on Coupland's title. However, I'm pretty certain that the rest of them aren't commenting on phrases turned by Paul Fussell or Billy Idol, both purportedly inspirational sources for the name of the book. Nope: the authors of these other books know Coupland's lore, or what it has be...more
Christopher James
I've been making an effort to go through some of my TRl lately, and this has been there for - oh, 10 years or so.

I had quite high expectations, which is not always a good thing. This is basically about Middle Class drop outs being a bit self satisfied with their disillusions. The dialogue is sharp, and it's all very clever, but in the end I just could't empathise with the characters.

I am aware I have mentioned class in a couple of recent reviews. I don't want to come across as an inverted snob...more
Ollie
Aug 19, 2011 Ollie rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Avoid everything Coupland has written like the plague
Recommended to Ollie by: book club
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture is as relevant today as a Kenny G song. It's also as enjoyable as a read. If Brett Easton Ellis hadn't hit the big time with American Psycho, Coupland wouldn't have had anyone to mirror himself as he chased his own zeitgeist. I suppose he was in the right time and the right place, good fortune smiling down on him in the early 90s when the media picked up on his novel as emblematic of a generation. (Slow news day?)

There is no story in Generation X,...more
Rob
Jan 31, 2008 Rob rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: post-modern cultural anthropologists, hipster apologists
Shelves: 2007
The book you hate to love? Or love to hate?

It's no wonder Coupland saw literary success after this book. It really is a triumph on all the scales that authors and their critics measure each other. It's devilishly clever, rife with scythe-like word-play, well-paced... It's everything a novel should be.

But at it's kernel, this is a book about some of the most pathetic folks to walk the face of the imagined Earth. A couple of burnt-out hipsters, wallowing in the hole of self-pity that they dug for...more
Ingrid
I hate this book. I don't know if I'm just not the target audience but I find all the main characters completely self absorbed and pretentious, which is especially amusing as the author makes a point of putting down pretentious people. So I'm wondering, are we supposed to NOT like these people and their "I GET IT, I'm SO UNCONVENTIONAL and UNTIED TO WORLDLY MATTERS and am therefore better then everyone" attitude? Because I sure do...

I would say this book is similar to the book "Staggering Work o...more
Jo
At first this book seemed like some guy trying to write a cool book about anti-yuppy people who were trying to live their lives away from the normal world. It seemed a bit pointless and just a book to show how cool the author was. But i gave it a chance and i am glad i did. It got a lot better. The characters went from being self obsessed morons to actual humans. They are people who hated the world they lived in so much that they moved to the dessert to not be apart of the "generation x". It was...more
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1886
Douglas Coupland is Canadian, born on a Canadian Air Force base near Baden-Baden, Germany, on December 30, 1961. In 1965 his family moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he continues to live and work. Coupland has studied art and design in Vancouver, Canada, Milan, Italy and Sapporo, Japan. His first novel, Generation X, was published in March of 1991. Since then he has published nine novels and sever...more
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