Review of Generation X


From Books in Canada (September 1991)

by Laurel Boone

In Douglas Coupland's Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, indulged and self-indulgent teenagers have hit their 20s and mellowed out in California. Still doing dope and booze, they work at "McJobs" to keep themselves in food, shelter and mind-altering substances. In the stories they tell to entertain and enlighten one another, they reveal themselves and fantasize about a future for which, in their real lives, they are too self-absorbed to prepare in any way except by moving on to Mexico. The cartoons, definitions, slogans, and other ephemera running beside the text in a separate column make shallow comments on the slightly less shallow story.

The "Canadian content" in this essentially American book is interesting. Several of the decaying adolescents have drifted south to the mind-numbing heat of Palm Springs from Canadian cities, as have some of the more risible tourists. None of these Canadians translate the French phrases they use as part of their conversation, and the other characters understand them perfectly.