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Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  21,542 Ratings  ·  869 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
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Paperback, 211 pages
Published 1996 by Abacus (first published 1991)
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Greg
Dec 07, 2008 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Jun 28, 2007 Damien rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Young white privilege all dressed up and no where to go
AnneMarie
Mar 28, 2012 AnneMarie rated it did not like it
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
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Paul Bryant
Nov 23, 2012 Paul Bryant rated it it was ok
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
Nov 01, 2007 Lisa rated it it was amazing
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
Sophia
Jan 03, 2008 Sophia rated it really liked it
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
Joe
Jan 13, 2009 Joe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Leftbanker
Apr 03, 2015 Leftbanker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
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 read that explained why I wasn’t entirely crazy for not being crazy for the American dream. He had a lot of great insig ...more
Goran Gluščić
Jan 12, 2016 Goran Gluščić rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Generacija X je knjiga koja mi je toliko na rubu petice da mi je žao dati joj četvorku. Sigurno na svom profilu imam petica koje sam dao davnih dana a koje su su mi danas daleko slabije knjige od ove, ali ne želim zbog toga gledati stare popise i spuštati ocjene. Ono što mogu reći je da ću Generaciju X čitati ponovno i uvjeren sam da će mi jednoga dana ocjena skoknuti zvijezdicu gore.

Jedini "problem" koji sam imao s knjigom je taj što mi je možda bila malo teška za čitanje. Ne na način težine ra
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W.B.
Jul 02, 2013 W.B. rated it it was amazing
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
Fabian
Aug 26, 2016 Fabian rated it really liked it
Does the term overload make or break the novel? Lets just say that in its o-so 80's rampantly materialistic take on self-imposed post mid-twenty crisis survivors, the book may want to break itself! This is the equivalent of what Reality Bites was to film: zeitgeisty, important, conspicuous.

It is a fun lexicon like novel that reads like the Decameron or the Canterbury tales in modern day. The protagonists (don't know it but actually) live in an age where nothing is happening and so the stories th
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Davie Bennett
Feb 10, 2009 Davie Bennett rated it it was amazing
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
Blair
If I had read this book when it was published, I'd probably have liked it more. Clearly I don't mean that literally, since I was 7 years old when it was published. I just mean that it was obviously a very zeitegisty book at that time, and a lot of its details seem irrelevant and dated now, and if I'd been the age I am now in the early 1990s, I would have got it and appreciated it rather than getting it but thinking, so what. It was perhaps a stupid place to start with Coupland, but I haven't hea ...more
Jennifer Eager
Aug 14, 2007 Jennifer Eager rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
sologdin
Aug 07, 2015 sologdin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
Probably ironic insofar as it is a programmatic statement for lumpenized antisocial nihilists (not the sort who abide a programme, normally), which means that it is less LANish itself than metaLANish, a scholarly study that seeks to inhabit the ‘mind’ of the LAN and explore the contours thereof. Ultimately defines the group as
the shin jin rui--that’s what the Japanese newspapers call people like those kids in their twenties at the office--new human beings. It’s hard to explain. We have the same
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Barbara
Jun 09, 2016 Barbara rated it liked it
This is the story of a handful of Generation X-ers, defined as people born between 1960 and 1980.

In the book three late-twenty somethings - Andy, Claire, and Dag - separately give up their upwardly mobile jobs and move to Palm Springs, California. There they take up residence in modest digs, take low-paying service jobs, and attempt to live more or less minimalist lives. They entertain themselves by telling stories (made up or real), drinking, snacking, having picnics, and - for the most part -
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William McCaffrey
Feb 01, 2008 William McCaffrey rated it liked it
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
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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
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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
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Avi
Nov 01, 2012 Avi rated it did not like it
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.
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
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Matthew Scheck
Jul 08, 2014 Matthew Scheck rated it it was amazing
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
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Andrew
May 18, 2009 Andrew rated it it was amazing
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
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Angela
Feb 15, 2014 Angela rated it it was amazing
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.
Trever Polak
4.5. Did you like Less Than Zero but want something with characters who are, like, humans? Read this one. Do you want a version of The Catcher in the Rye with older people in more modern times in the desert of California? Read this one.

I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed this one because I'd been led to believe it didn't age well, but I liked it and I'm a millennial, so idk what that says about this. If you want to read a coming-of-age story that's emblematic of the culture in North America ci
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Michael Scott
TODO:
++ In Generation X, Douglas Coupland dissects a new generation of young adults, which turns out to be a generation filled with lots of disdain, minimal intention to join the previous generation's world, and overall a supreme je m'en fous told through uppity tonsils.
+++ Simply great: The book practically invents a vocabulary for the new generation. From

anti-sabbatical - a job taken with the sole intention of staying only for a limited period of time (often one year). The intention is usual
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Sara
Jan 10, 2016 Sara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cbc-100
At the beginning I thought oh great a story about three bored with life, pretentious, twenty somethings who give up their mundane jobs and move to the desert to live authentically. Cue eye-rolling and inner dialogue of "how am I ever going to get through this book". It wasn't until the second or third "story" that I started to get into this book and then even more so as I started to notice common threads and themes emerging that I sometimes experience in my life. Especially so in the definitions ...more
Olga Litskevych
Jul 12, 2016 Olga Litskevych rated it it was amazing
Такие книги для меня - удовольствие в чистом виде. Остроумные сюжеты, слегка маргинальные герои и тематика, несмотря на то, что книга была написана 25 лет назад, все такая же, остросоциальная.

Описанное здесь поколение - это поколение моих родителей. Но так уж случилось, что Советский Союз оказался такой себе воронкой времени или черной дырой, которая отбросила нашу страну на несколько десятков лет назад. Да и, в принципе, история циклична. Так что эта история любому из нас ближе, чем могло бы по
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Ryan Johnson
Mar 14, 2016 Ryan Johnson rated it it was ok
Finally finished this book. Again, judging by the amount of time it took me to read this book I can say I wasn't entirley thrilled with it.....IMHO the author tried too hard to be cute, flamboyant and relevant.
Cátia
Sep 01, 2015 Cátia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Foi lido muito devagar e intervalado, muito fora do seu subtítulo de "para uma cultura acelerada"

Desconhecia mas gostei do livro. Umas vezes menos. Outras muito mais. Soltei uns risos meio desprevenidos.

Gostei que fosse possível introduzir na literatura a palavra "osso-buco" (pág. 182)

Acho que Andy, Claire e Dag estão por aí, nestas novas gerações, que não têm medo de largar tudo e ir por aí.

O livro é super actual, tendo qualquer coisa de zadie smith e fiquei interessada na biografia que o auto
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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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