Friday, September 14, 2012

Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

by Douglas Coupland

I really don’t know what to say about this book. It doesn’t feel like a novel, but it is not a collection of short stories either. “Tales for an Accelerated Culture” sounds f-ing pretentious. Oh well.

In this work, we meet three main characters: Andy (our narrator), Claire, and Dag. They are all overeducated, underemployed slacker types living in the California desert. Very little happens to them; they make very little happen in their lives.

Interspersed with their “tales” are little asides/marginalia—sometimes cartoons, more often words/phrases with definitions. My favorite:

Bradyism: a multi-sibling sensibility derived from having grown up in large families. A rarity in those born after approximately 1965, symptoms of Bradyism include a facility for mind games, emotional withdrawal in situations of overcrowding, and a deeply felt need for a well-defined personal space.

The rest of the book stinks, but I love that Bradyism. I’ve wanted to read this for a long time and finally did it. I now feel just as empty as Coupland’s characters.


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