Monday, February 1, 2010

Book Review - Generation A by Douglas Coupland

Douglas Coupland's writing is a little Chuck Palahniuk, without trying as hard to be clever, and a little Kurt Vonnegut, though not so cynical. This book is not his first novel, but it almost reads like one. It doesn't make me interested to read his other books anytime soon, which is a bummer because I had high hopes for this book.

The story is about the foreseeable future when bees have gone extinct. No one has seen them for at least five years. Suddenly 5 different and seemingly unrelated people get stung. The book is told from their individual perspectives. Coupland does a good job of giving them all different personalities, though the writing style for each voice is basically identical. I found myself having trouble believing that the perceptive introvert was perceptive at all in certain chapters. At times he told his story like an ignorant fool.

I had bigger problem with the pacing. The story was all beginning and end, with no middle to speak of. We start out with the 5 people getting stung and they are whisked away to underground labs to be studied for a month, without explanation as to why. Then they go home, but before anything can happen there, they are whisked away yet again to a remote island where they find out why they were stung and what the results of being locked away underground were. Why even have them go home at all? Coupland seemed to be in a rush, but nothing gets me into a book like a writer who savors the story.

But I don't want to be misleading, it's a fun book and Coupland has a smart writing style. It was an easy read and an enjoyable one. It simply wasn't my favorite and I won't be rushing to re-read this book. I still stand by it being an interesting story idea, I just wish there could have been more to it. In a way that's a compliment. It's not like I didn't finish the book; I liked it enough to want more from it.


  1. i love coupland. life after god? generation x. is generation a new?!

  2. Just came out in January. I haven't read his other books, so I can't compare, but my feelings for this one were lukewarm.