Generation X by Douglas Coupland

Generation X

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 dreary careers and cut themselves adrift in the California desert. Unsure of...

Details Generation X

TitleGeneration X
Release DateNov 15th, 1996
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Cultural, Canada, Novels

Reviews Generation X

  • 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 ...
  • Fabian
    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 a...
  • Damien
    Young white privilege all dressed up and no where to go
  • Barbara
    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 someones - 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, sna...
  • 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 p...
  • 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 for three blissful years. I didn’t really get America when I got back, not at all. This was the first novel that I read that explained why I wasn’...
  • 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 lie 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...
  • 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 moment...
  • Michael Finocchiaro
    I think I read this right when it came out. I identified for the most part with the generation he describes but actually was probably about 5 years to young to completely fit. It is interesting to note that the preoccupations we had back then are not all that different then those of the current millennials - but that back then, we did not have social media or iPhones and so the dissemination of our discontent, our angst, and our disillusionment w...
  • Paul Bryant
    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 t...
  • 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 co...
  • Nate D
    Douglas Coupland is largely sort of awful, but he didn't completely start out that way. There's a certain inspiration to his earliest works, which comes in most concentrated form here. Sure, it's a novel made up almost entirely of the cynical listlessness of all Generation X cliches that followed, but that's the entirely appropriate result of this being the book that defined the cliches. The book, in fact, which coined the term. And there's a lit...
  • Marc
    This started very promising, but soon became bogged down in hollow, absurd stories. Chronologically I belong to this Generation X, and it is true that at one time (mid 80s)this generation seemed "lost", due to the economic crisis, postmodernism and especially the post-1968 syndrome. But apparently eventually all (?) worked out. Moreover, we in the West are now facing very different problems (how to stay afloat in a globalized world, the growing s...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 t...
  • Jenn
    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.
  • 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 s...
  • Alejandro Saint-Barthélemy
    I like the yuppie vocabulary in the footnotes, Tobias' rant, the Japanese story when Rilke is quoted...I like the insightfulness of it all.I dislike the 'feeling of filling' (sorry): you can sense that this book was asked to be written by a third party, that maybe it had to have a particular amount of pages, that maybe it was written too fast and didn't have the proper editing (not to mention that it would work much better as a collection of essa...
  • sologdin
    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--...
  • Mister Cool
    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 ...
  • 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 stup...
  • Sarah83 L
    Definitely not my kind of literature
  • L.P. Logan
    This book was crap. A whole bunch of ramblings trying to depict what it means to be 'cool', 'with it', or even dare I say it, 'hip'. I tried my best to read it, but dang it all, it beat me. It was just that bad. Avoid this one. Read something else.
  • Rachel Louise Atkin
    I didn't dislike this but don't think it lives up to any of the Gen X works I've already read. Structurally it's all over the place, following Andy and his two friends who are so disaffected by their generational era that they sit around sharing stories with each other. There's not really anything that moves this book forward because it's cut up by all the disconnected 'tales' that they swap so it's absolutely useless to try and get to know the c...
  • 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...
  • William McCaffrey
    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...
  • 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.
  • mark monday
    this was a cultural touchstone when it came out, and that's when i should have read it. couldn't even finish this one, the ideas are flat, characterizations non-existent, and the concepts are surprisingly uninterestng.
  • Mirosław Aleksander
    The first chapters of this novel filled me with a feeling that reading this will be a drudgery. The characters came off as one-dimensional, and the lot seemed to be of the type that enthrall's you in your late teens or early 20s, but becomes naive as you grow older and gain experience.However, I cannot dislike this book. It had a certain charm hidden in the many arguments between the characters, which adds more depth to them. This is not to say t...
  • 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 frustrati...