Generation X is Douglas Coupland's widely acclaimed exploration of the generation born in the late 1950s and 1960s—a camera-shy, suspiciously hushed demographic 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 in the California desert. In search of 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 earning paltry paychecks at "McJobs"—that is, at "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.
As Generation X progresses, and as these moral fables continue, 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 a home of their own. Andy, Dag, and Claire are underemployed, overeducated, intensely private, and unpredictable. Like the very generation they reflect, they have nowhere to assuage their fears, and no culture to replace their anomie.
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Douglas Coupland was born on a Canadian Armed Forces Base in Baden-Söllingen, Germany in 1961. He is the author of Miss Wyoming, Generation X, All Families are Psychotic, and Girlfriend in a Coma, among others. He attended the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, the Hokkaido College of Art and Design, Instituto Europeo di Design, and the Japan/America Institute of Management Science.
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