Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
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Generation X is Douglas Coupland's acclaimed salute to the generation born in the late 1950s and 1960s--a generation known vaguely up to then as "twentysomething."
Andy, Claire, and Dag, each in their twenties, have quit "pointless jobs done grudgingly to little applause" in their respective hometowns and cut themselves adrift on the California desert. In search of the drastic changes that will lend meaning to their lives, they've mired themselves in the detritus of American cultural memory. Refugees from history, the three develop an ascetic regime of story-telling, boozing, and working McJobs--"low-pay, low-prestige, low-benefit, no-future jobs in the service industry." They create modern fables of love and death among the cosmetic surgery parlors and cocktail bars of Palm Springs, disturbingly funny tales of nuclear waste, historical overdosing, and mall culture.
A dark snapshot of the trio's highly fortressed inner world quickly emerges--landscapes peopled with dead TV shows, "Elvis moments," and semi-disposable Swedish furniture. And from these landscapes, deeper portraits emerge, those of fanatically independent individuals, pathologically ambivalent about the future and brimming with unsatisfied longings for permanence, for love, and for their own home. Andy, Dag, and Claire are underemployed, overeducated, intensely private, and unpredictable. Like the group they mirror, they have nowhere to assuage their fears, and no culture to replace their anomie.
And books thrown at Ludwig would bounce insouciantly off his back, with the resulting pepper-colored shimmy of bugs that sprinkled onto the carpet being lapped up by Ludwig with his long pink tongue. Edward's situation was indeed dire. There was only one option of course, and that was to leave the room, and so, to the enraged thwarted howls of Ludwig who charged at Edward from across the room, Edward breathlessly opened his heavy oak doors, his tongue galvanized with the ferric taste of
sees nothing silly or offensive in frequenting franchised theme-restaurants with artificial, possessive-case names like McTuckey's or O'Dooligan's. He knows all variations and nuances of tassel loafers. ("I could never wear your shoes, Andy. They've got moccasin stitching. Far too casual.") Not surprisingly, he's a control freak and considers himself informed. He likes to make jokes about paving Alaska and nuking Iran. To borrow a phrase from a popular song, he's loyal to the Bank of A merica.
overall effect around the pool is markedly 1949, save for Tobias's Day-Glo green swimsuit. "Hi, Andy," Elvissa whispers, bending down to peck me on the cheek. She then mumbles a cursory hello to Tobias, after which she grabs her own lounger to begin the arduous task of covering every pore of her body with PABA 29, her every move under the worshipful looks of Dag, who is like a friendly dog unfortunately owned by a never-athome master. Claire's body on the other side of Dag is totally rag-doll
the town is undoubtedly a quiet sanctuary from the bulk of middle-class life. And we certainly don't live in one of the dishier neighborhoods the town has to offer. No w ay. There are neighborhoods here, where, if you see a glint in a patch of crew-cut Bermuda grass, you can assume there's a silver dollar lying there. Where we live, in our little bungalows that share a courtyard and a kidney-shaped swimming pool, a twinkle in the grass means a broken scotch bottle or a colostomy bag that has
Vanity Fair (I'm driving). "You think I should bleach my hair white?" "You're not using aluminum pots and pans still, are you, Andy?" asks my father, standing in the living room, winding up the grandfather clock. "Get rid of them, pronto. Dietary aluminum is your gateway to Alzheimer's disease." Dad had a stroke two years ago. Nothing major, but he lost the use of his right hand for a week, and now he has to take this medication that makes him unable to secrete tears; to cry. I must say, the