I am a Douglas Coupland fan. And I think his debut Generation X still holds up as one of his best novels. I probably read it for the first time over ten years ago. And I have since then read several other Coupland novels. (I also reviewed jPod extensively in 2007 on my Dutch blog). So I am quite familiar with his unique style, which is a large part of the attraction. However rereading this book was quite the revelation.
First, to my own shock, I barely seemed to remember the main story (sure, three friends in a desert town, but that was about it). This might be fuel for an entire blogpost on this subject (“What good is reading when you forget? Does this depend on the story or author? etc.”).
But second, when I was reading I had to double check when this book was written — yes, really 1991! The story also takes place around that time. Sure, there a few outdated references, but mainly it struck me how relevant, fresh and on-point Coupland already was in describing and predicting modern society (our society) and our relationships — with each other or technology — which is a main Coupland theme throughout all of his work. Remember this book was written pre-www (pre-grunge!). So it was definitely a different time. But the characters and their stories hold up well, because it is mainly about human interaction. And the struggle these Generation X characters face in their search for meaning, might be even more relevant today.
So rereading this book left me with even more respect for Coupland as an astute and perceptive writer.
Originally published at Jan van den Berg.