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Generation A

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  7,102 ratings  ·  604 reviews
“Now you young twerps want a new name for your generation? Probably not, you just want jobs, right? Well, the media do us all such tremendous favors when they call you Generation X, right? Two clicks from the very end of the alphabet. I hereby declare you Generation A, as much at the beginning of a series of astonishing triumphs and failures as Adam and Eve were so long ag ...more
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Random House Canada
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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Nov 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, sci-fi
I feel like I owe a debt to Douglas Coupland for tagging my age group as Generation X. Yes, it got wildly over hyped in the ‘90s and led to countless marketing slogans like ‘New X-Treme Corn Flakes’, but that wasn’t Coupland’s fault. And Gen X sounds a helluva lot cooler than ‘Baby Boomers’ or what we would have gotten labeled without it. Probably something like ‘The Pre-Millennial Generation’ or some other equally crappy phrase.

At first, Generation A seems like it’s going to be even grimmer th
Daniel Roy
May 03, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I haven't read Coupland since Microserfs and Generation X, and was intrigued by the title's promise that this was somehow a followup to 1991's Generation X. Let me tell you up front: it's not.

The book starts intriguingly enough by building five characters from the US, Canada, New Zealand, France and Sri Lanka. These characters were quirky and interesting, and although shallow, they kept me reading thanks to Coupland's prose.

But midway through the novel, the plot comes to an abrupt halt when thes
George Dickerson
Okay, so I should mention that ever since I grabbed Microserfs off the shelves of my junior high library about 12 years ago, completely wanting to look through it just because of the cover, and ever since that book enthralled me and regenerated my love of reading, I've carried a deep respect and gratitude toward Douglas Coupland.

Of course, years and experience change the writer and the reader, but I've continued buying each book as soon as I hear about it. Eleanor Rigby was the one that sparked
Sam Quixote
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Douglas Coupland's Generation A sees a not-too-distant world of ours devoid of bees and therefore things like fruit and flowers. A strange drug called Solon is sweeping the planet, it's effects rendering the user carefree and unafraid of the future with a deep inner peace that stops them interacting with other humans and makes them seek solitude. Highly addictive, the drug is wiping out human creativity as well as the bees.

Five people, seemingly random, across the planet are stung by bees. They
Jason Pettus
Sep 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

As I've mentioned here before, about the closest I come to being a literal "completist" of a contemporary author's work is probably Douglas Coupland (I've now read ten of his thirteen novels, and was a pretty obsessive fan at that when I was younger); for those who need a refresher, he's the fifty-somethi
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia
2019 review: A good read indeed! To me it was like a cross between Bradbury and Atwood with a dollop of cyber punk thrown in. A dystopian tale based in a alternate reality where many insects, including bees have become extinct, thus destroying the cycle of life on Earth with an ongoing splurge of 'natural' disasters', from the inability of most plants to propagate to tsunamis and droughts everywhere. Suddenly in the space of a few months five individuals spread around the globe are stung by bees ...more
Darrell Reimer
Oct 12, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Generation A mirrors 1991's Generation X.” It says so, right there on the back jacket. I read that and figured if Douglas Coupland was returning, in some manner, to the book that inflated him into what he is now, I was keen to read the by-product.

I don't usually mark up my books, but three pages into Generation A I felt compelled to take the lid off my Roller-Ball and write, neatly, in the margin: “How can a guy who is almost 50 years old write a book populated by characters so fastidiously stu
Nov 09, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, canadian-lit
This book starts out really strongly and made me think I was fortunate enough to be reading an example of Coupland at the top of his game. He introduces five different narrators, each of whom has been stung by a thought-to-be-extinct honeybee, and the story of how they all come together is quirky and fun. However, once all five do land together in the same tiny town, the novel completely disintegrates. The “twists” become so bizarre and nonsensical that I kept expecting there to be some other, r ...more
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Coupland fans
Shelves: fiction, novels, american
Coupland is far from his best here, patching together a cast of forgettable characters that mostly feel as simple narrative devices in an otherwise unplausible plot. Yes, yes, the social critique, the observation and bla bla bla, but a novel is supposed to deliver characters and plot as well as background, and "Generation A" fails at the former.
The story follows five twentysomethings from all over the world, living in a not-so-distant future where bees are extinct, fruits have all but disappeare
Loredana (Bookinista08)
A very cleverly built book, I loved it! It was a pleasure to read from beginning to end and I really marveled at Coupland's ideas: he's one smart man! His view of humankind's future is a little scary but it also pushes one to think beyond one's safe zone: everything we do has an impact on the world! Once again, Coupland was a master. Can't wait to read his next books! ...more
Apr 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Though it had been a while since I read Coupland I recognized all the familiar touches within the first few pages. The narrators are young and savvy but jaded characters, seemingly remote from one another but clearly sharing a destiny within the framework of the novel. The setting is classic dystopia with the most modern flourishes; it's definitely the first novel I've read that mentions YouTube, for better or worse. There's that distrust of science, of corporate greed, of governmental authority ...more
I'm coming back to this book somewhere around 2 years and 10 months after I finished it. I made special note of it because, by Goodreads standards, it has the lowest average score of all books on my "favorites" shelf, which is, to be fair, considerably light. Score coming in at time of review as 3.53 and only three hundredths "worse" rated than Less Than Zero.

The story: Five people get stung by bees. Bees are thought to be extinct in this roughly 2020 version of the world. There's a drug that m
Kara Babcock
I've had Generation A sitting on my shelf since Christmas and feel vaguely guilty that I did not read it sooner. On the other hand, now I've gone and read it in a single day, so I kind of wish I had prolonged the experience. Douglas Coupland is one of those authors whose books are a pleasure to read and experience. He is very aware of the nature of his medium (which, some might say, is also the message), and he likes to play with the structure of his novel and his text. In earlier books, this of ...more
Feb 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I wouldn't consider this Coupland's best, but I was drawn in immediately and stayed up past my bedtime several nights in a row in order to finish. It's been several years since I last read Generation X, which this book is supposed to parallel, so forgive me if I make (or miss) overly obvious comparisons between the two.

Oh fiction, how do I even talk about you anymore? I feel like Coupland's earlier work often focused on how our increasingly mediated and culture-saturated lives made us both isola
Apr 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting premise that left me somewhat hanging in the end. Set sometime in the future, five people in different parts of the world get stung by bees, during a period in which bees have gone extinct due to the proliferation of a drug called Solon that cures human anxiety.

So begins their odyssey, when the five characters are immediately quarantined and subjected to a barrage of tests to find out what made them attractive to the bees. Following their release a month later, with no conclusions
Paul Eckert
By now it’s a running cliché to say that Douglas Coupland’s books tend to capture the mood of contemporary culture, and sometimes, are even a bit prophetic. Cliché or not, I still believe it’s true.

I think Generation A did a pretty good job of both capturing the irony of the culture of isolation as well as showing us where this isolation can lead us. Unfortunately, I felt that he did a better job of it in his last novel, The Gum Thief.

Generation A follows five people that are stung by bees in
Dec 27, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In the past I have really enjoyed Douglas Coupland's novels (though I've still never read Generation X). He has such a wonderfully dark, bleak sense of humor. This novel, however, was just plain boring--so tedious it put my teeth on edge. Firstly, I'm not sure if Coupland was trying to make a larger social statement through his narrative about humans and their relationship to earth. I don't think so, because that is not what Coupland does....but, it was difficult to tell. If he was, it was a spe ...more
ouch. I'm not sure what to say about this book, and so am going to say very little. coupland has long been devolving into a caricature of his caricatures. there were many elements within this book that might have been developed into different books, but instead they were mashed into each other, cancelling each other out and leaving nothing but the endless drone(no pun intended) of Coupland's smarmy too-hip-too-breathe voice. if the characters had mattered, it would have been dreadful that five d ...more
I must admit I have a soft spot for Coupland. He's one of those author's I discovered in Sixth Form and so far has never disappointed (well, not much). His prose and characterisation’s are excellent, alternating between ludicrous scenarios to some deeper philosophical and sociological discussions.

Generation A tells the tale of a near future society where it is believed bees are extinct until five unconnected people get stung. The premise is interesting and Coupland starts the novel well. I've re
lucy  black
Sep 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
I realise that he is just writing the same stuff in the same way and yeah some of it is getting old (he gets some of the slang so wrong: New Zealanders DO NOT say crikey dick that is Australians). But, parts of this book are still really brilliant. The stories the characters tell are genius. I think it is easy to want to pull Douglas Coupland off his throne but maybe at least one bum cheek deservers to stay on there.
Melissa McShane
There are some Douglas Coupland books I read just for the prose. This is one of them. Coupland's metaphors and descriptive passages are lovely, but in the end I wasn't sure what the point was. I think he was saying something about interconnectedness, but as I write this, I no longer remember the ending. (It's only been ten days.) Clever, interestingly characterized, and ultimately forgettable. ...more
Aug 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve never hidden my admiration for the work of Douglas Coupland. I admire the creative flare and originality that permeates his catalogue of work, and the precise nature to which he can articulate satirical observations of contemporary society that in my eyes escapes the majority of commentators. There hasn’t been a single book I’ve read that hasn’t lead me to genuinely ponder the questions posed to the reader, and this was no different. When reflecting on his latest work Generation A I choose ...more
Rachel Tremblay
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I considered this a good 4 star about 1/2, 3/4 of the way through. But the plot twist and the ending bring to a strong 5.

5 people get stung by bees at a time when bees have gone instinct, a time when people are so worried and full of anxiety they get hooked to a drug called Solon, that keeps them in the moment, happy to be alone, uncaring about the future. Kind of the opposite of the life of bees. The 5’s stings bring them together in an unexpected way.

It’s playful and funny the whole way throug
Jan 11, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always worthwhile to spend some time with Douglas Coupland. Of course, he is a genius with new ways of looking at the world, unique ideas, and fresh metaphors. You always come away feeling smarter and cooler. The plot in this book was pretty crazy, but worth sticking around for. I always am let down by the world that does not celebrate Coupland the way that he deserves, as he continues to be an extremely fresh, inventive, and relevant writer, writing about what it is like to live in todays compl ...more
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rarely has a book flipped on me so badly: brilliant beginning, poor development, terrible storytelling conceit ("let´s all tell stories to each other"), silly "climax". ...more
I read this months ago, but I just couldn't bring myself to write the review because it was the last book my friend and former roommate added to his Wishlist (on my recommendation) before he took his own life. The themes of this book are themes we'd discussed and were just too raw to talk about. I'm just glad that I took notes as I read.

Douglas Coupland has long been one of my favorite authors because he has a gift of looking at the problems of the generation and capturing their essen
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kudos to Douglas Coupland for a powerful opening on one of my favourite themes:

“How can we be alive and not wonder about the stories we use to knit together this place we call the world? Without stories, our universe is merely rocks and clouds and lava and blackness…. What is prayer but a wish for the events in your life to string together to form a story – something that makes some sense of events you know have meaning.”

As usual, Coupland creates a cast of characters with extremely quirky lives
Thurston Hunger
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Douglas Coupland. He is a true Canadian gem and I leap at any opportunity to read something new from him. Usually it means I have to wait a while, because I don't like reading hardcovers and it usually takes a year for the trade paperbacks of his work to be released (I wouldn't have this problem if his works were available on ebook...). Generation A was a painful wait for me. I ALMOST bought the hardcover about 20 times while I was waiting. Then, I finally bought it in trade and it sat on ...more
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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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