“My days would no longer feel like a video game that resets to zero every time I wake up, and then begs for coins.”
Douglas Coupland’s novel – ‘Generation A’
The book begins with an ending; a tsunami. This is a story rooted in the chaos of survival. A story teller who leads us so deeply into his world that we are hard pressed to say where the fictions lie.
I’m torn by about the end of the first page for I know that this is a keeper. How fast can I read it? Should I ration it?
Weirdly it’s appropriate that my copy is a library book. Douglas Coupland has much to say about a life lived, shared in public, with friends, bound to the earth.
There are references to sliced bread, boxcars, the fame thing and neuro-masturbation. He places us firmly in his landscape. The details are light, sparing and precise.
He gathers five from our globe to tell their stories, as they tell us their own. Characters as outrageous as any of our friends, at once both ordinary and extraordinary. He manages a careful invention of controlled behaviours, harsh reflections of our continued failure to look outwards.
Yet you can still feel the optimism as he runs in the dark, anticipating and documenting the apocalypse of our times. A tomorrow so strange and familiar at the same time.
It deals with the temptation of exit or avoidance. The illusion of choice in space exploration and Martian colonisation raised, and dashed, as a ridiculous fiction. The weight of time upon us; anxiety as to the future.
There’s detail, like shared memory, talk of meals prepared and relished. This joy is then subverted as a mirror to the nature of consumption.
Our obsessions with identity and self-knowledge in an over documented age he handles gently, with good humour. Reminding us of our independence of thought he takes us into isolation. His science is careful, unobtrusive.
Here is a story that resonates like a song. A seduction for this day and this place. You don’t entirely realise what is being done to you or where you are being taken; only that you are willing.