Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Generation A by Douglas Coupland

What can I say about this book? I have always been a big fan of Douglas Coupland's work, but I fear that I might have grown out of it. That seems strange to say: I've written a paper on Coupland, used his work in classes and presentations, I've heard him speak and met him a number if times. I own pretty much all of his writing; most of my Coupland books are signed by him. At one point, I had a binder of all of the Coupland writing I could find, be it online or in magazines. I say all of this to say that I was not very impressed with Generation A.

The book explores some compelling, albeit fictional, ideas regarding semiotics and the decoding of written communication, as well as physiological effects of narrative creation and the development of new forms of, say, cognitive life. But I do feel that Coupland repeats himself, and I almost feel personally slighted by him. Does he care about his readers? I cannot speak for him as a person (when I have met him, he has always seemed to be a generous and kind fellow, spending extra moments to speak to me at our last meeting in Winnipeg), but I feel he doesn't.

Or maybe Coupland is no longer appealing to me: he is part of my past, and feeds that more melancholy (for the sake of melancholy) me of years ago. In any case, I didn't feel satisfied by this book, and it doesn't make me want to read his newest novel, though I will.

I feel bad about this. Douglas Coupland is one of these defining authors for me. I can't bear to say he was.

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