Book Review: Generation X

Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Douglas Coupland.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Generation X is a novel set in the 1990s, and is a story centred around three friends, Andy Palmer, Dagmar (Dag) Bellinghausen and Claire Baxter. Three additional characters make an appearance as the story progresses, including Tobias, Elvissa, and Tyler. The principal narrator throughout is Andy.

We follow the characters as they hang out together, talking about their lives and sharing stories. In terms of plot, not much happens other than a few relatively insignificant events. There is a love triangle, and one of the characters has an unexpected penchant for vandalism, both of which are resolved at the end of novel.

Generation X is more a vignette of the 1990s, and it reads like flipping through an album of nostalgic Polaroids that capture that zeitgeist. There is a reference to this early on in the book where Andy watches his friends and is “helplessly reminded of the sort of bleached Kodak snapshots taken decades ago and found in shoe boxes in attics everywhere.”

If you are looking for an action-packed, plot-driven novel set in the 1990s, you might be disappointed with Generation X. However, if you like character-driven fiction, and are of a certain age, perhaps looking to chill with a group of people who loosely remind you of your own nineties friendship group, you may love it. I certainly did.

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