Sunday, January 17, 2010

5 Minute Book Review - Generation A

I finished reading Generation A last week.

I think I've read all of Douglas Coupland's books over the years, with the possible exception of one, since Generation X first came out while I was a senior in high school. I've always enjoyed his work and, of course, there's always that bit of extra fun when reading books that take place in your neighborhood. (I can't remember which book it was in, but I recall Coupland visualizing nuclear armageddon in West Van, which resonated particularly well with me.)

One part of Coupland's books has always bugged me a bit. He creates engaging characters in modern reasonable or semi-reasonable situations. But the end of his books almost always take on a surrealistic semi-spiritual aspect, which seems inconsistent with the rest of the book.

The positive of Generation A was that Coupland infused this feeling throughout the book, instead of just jamming it in at the end. It created an engaging relationship with the characters, which I really enjoyed.

It's not a terribly challenging read. It's great how the characters all come together, but there's a cultural sameness that feels a little inappropriate. Sure, you bring a Canadian, a Kiwi, a Frenchman and and American together and you can have a connection. And Coupland throws in an Indian who works at a A&F call centre, called Apu, so that he can have the cultural knowledge as well. It all feels a little too convenient and perhaps not quite sophisticated enough.

It's a good story. A pleasant read. One of the top 5 from Coupland. I'd still recommend it.

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