Review of Shampoo Planet


From The Literary Supplement

by Tom Shone

{Coupland's first novel}, Generation X {BRD 1993}, started life as a lifestyle guide, a genesis which showed in its rag-bag format: a collection of statistics and byte-sized apercus studding a largely irrelevant narrative. In Shampoo Planet, Coupland has taken more care to dramatize his youthful attitudinizing, but only slightly. As in soap operas, scenes last only as long as the supply of witticisms. The book is in fact at its least strained when following the line of least resistance, devolving into a bundle of hip, slick theories, mottoes and brand-name checks. It is here that the success of a novel like this lies. Coupland certainly has an eye for the ersatz sentimentality of much contemporary youth culture. . . . But the pressure of speaking for his generation sends Coupland off into bluff. . . . Shampoo Planet speaks more of its own desire to speak for a generation than anything else.