Generation X is an insufferably privileged, pretentious, meaningless novel about three young people living in bungalows in Palm Spring during the 90’s. Nothing at all happens, except the three of them hanging around, drinking, taking daytrips and telling each other long, thinly veiled stories about themselves because it’s easier to deal with yourself as a character in a story rather than own up to your own life.
“As the expression goes, we spend our youth attaining wealth, and our wealth attaining youth.”
I spent this entire book waiting for these people to finally grow up and SPOILER ALERT. They do not. Nothing happens except more stories, more pretentious waffling and something about a jar with radiation???
I absolutely love this book.
Fucking adore it.
The prose is stunning. It shouldn’t be, but it hits the perfect tone of being lonely and haunted, but like, under sunshine and together with other people. It’s its own rhythm that can hardly be quoted out of context.
“And any small moments of intense, flaring beauty such as this morning’s will be utterly forgotten, dissolved by time like a super-8 film left out in the rain, without sound, and quickly replaced by thousands of silently growing trees.”
Alongside the main story are footnotes and illustrations of made of words, phenomena and places. The footnotes at once expand upon and play with the content in the story. It creates a new field of interpretation in the text that is interesting to dive into and makes it a book that is easily re-read.
“Cult of aloneness: the need for autonomy at all costs, usually at the expense of long-term relationships. Often brought about by overly high expectations of others.”
Coupland builds a delicious tension in the story to expose these people, but also hold them up as a mirror to ourselves. He cuts straight through, to all the ugly bits of youth, before we realize that the value of life is to be something for someone other than ourselves. There’s nothing heroic about being alone, telling your own story. Stories are meant to be shared.
“After you’re dead and buried and floating around whatever place we go to, what’s going to be your best memory of earth? What one moment for you defines what it’s like to be alive on this planet. What’s your takeaway? Fake yuppie experiences that you had to spend money on, like white water rafting or elephant rides in Thailand don’t count. I want to hear some small moment from your life that proves you’re really alive.”
Generation X is written for a certain time and a certain generation, but it can be read by any pretentious youth (and let’s face it, all youth is pretentious) who thinks there is more to life that what society holds up before them.
CBRBingo: Listicle. I knew this book was gonna be on a list somewhere. It’s just one of those list books that I knew white men would slap on a list and think themselves super clever and subversive. I mean, I know I loved it so much I read it twice, but that’s because there’s a white man buried deep inside of me.