Oprah Time: Generation A by Douglas Coupland

Before stepping into Generation A, it makes sense to talk about the author. Douglas Coupland is unique in modern authors for his combination of being able to write with a sense of keen observation and a unique knack of getting under the skin of the zeitgeist. Generation A continues these traits for the late noughties.

Coupland skillfully pulls together a multi-threaded story that pulls together globalisation, environmental angst, economic decline, end times, murder, drug abuse, changing media consumption and corporate corruption in a tight plot. Coupland drives the story on through five narrators and still manages to provide each one of them with a well-rounded character profile. I particularly like the way Coupland manages to understand and articulate how his characters use and related to technology.

Whilst the book is less literal than Generation X or Microserfs it is still a work of its time. One gets the sense that Coupland writes in a semi-reverential way of his previous works. Even the title of this book Generation A – whilst taken as a quote from a speech by Kurt Vonnegut at Syracuse University in 1994. The style of the novel is an obvious reference to Generation X, and like that book the real focus is on angst as a major force in modern life.