Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Canuck Book Revisitation 1 - Generation X by Douglas Coupland

You know what? I don't remember actually loving this book when I first read it. I liked it a lot and tore through it quickly but I didn't love it. I think it was just too dry, too mannered. I mean, all it is is a few people hanging out telling stories to each other.

What struck me most this time around, with a decade and a half of separation is how much this book is a product of its time. This book is the literary equivalent of all those jaded, talky GenX movies I once loved - Slacker, Before Sunrise, Clerks. Young people talking. And talking. And talking. Some coupling, but that just fuels more talking.

The second time around? I think I like it even more. It's a strange book - one that is almost too cute with it's constant slogans and definitions in the margins - but it works. Maybe it's just me. As I mentioned, I do have a weakness for all things talky and nineties.

Of course, there is an irony here because, while Coupland got so much right in his book, the reality of the X generation didn't play out the way he envisioned. Instead of backing away from consumer society, the X generation wound up embracing it with gusto. They may have tried to dress up their consumerism in layers of irony and detachment but it didn't keep them out of the malls. Sigh. . .

8 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Great reanalysis of an iconic book! It really does stand up to the passage of time, and acts as a touch point.

Remi said...

It does, indeed. Though now it sort of points to a path not taken. That kind of adds to the charm of it.

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