Review of Generation X


From The Glasgow Herald (December 19, 1992)

by David Harris

Too young to remember where they were when Kennedy was assassinated, too old to operate anything computerised, Generation X was born some time between the end of the Chatterley ban and the Beatles' last LP. This unusually designed novel, complete with marginal glossary, Lichtenstein graphics, and delphic slogans, focuses on Andy, Dag, and Claire, three such casualties who escape the fallout of contemporary culture by moving to Palm Springs, taking McJobs (low pay, low prestige, no future) and telling each other apocalyptic Freudian fables as history speeds past the car window.

Despite its unorthodox appearance, Coupland's dissection of the character of our times is more accurate than the lifestyle-laden novels of Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis, and its crucial three are paradigms of the Bomb-conscious, rootless children of the revolution so reviled by the New Right. If you recognise concepts like Ultra-Short-Term Nostalgia ("Things were so much better last week") or Option Paralysis (the tendency, when given unlimited choices, to make none), this book was written for you: welcome to the Blank Generation.