Generation X and literature: Trainspotting and Fight Club.
It's been 23 years since Generation X, novel by Douglas Coupland, see the light (1999), giving name to an entire sociocultural phenomenon (although the term was first used by photographer Robert Capa, it was popularized through Coupland's homonymous work). Through this, the author reflected the reality of that youth so characteristic in the West that they had not known war or post-war, in the height of consumerism. A generation marked by profiles like that of Kurt Cobain, maximum exponent of the Grunge movement with his group Nirvana (at least commercially speaking) and that marked an entire generation with his suicide. That generation that saw the birth of the Internet, who experienced first-hand the rapid growth of technology despite coming from playing with balls and friends in the street, and that sought to break the stereotypes and behavior models that were so static and at the same time so prevailing at the time.
At a literary level, Generation X and its cultural background is based on ironic tones, scenarios set in marginal areas, where the protagonists drank from the prevailing pop culture of the moment and broke with the established, promoting snobbish and markedly differentiating behaviors against conformism. of the previous generation (the famous baby boomers).
In addition to the aforementioned Coupland, we can highlight two great authors with two of the movement's most representative books: the American Chuck Palahniuk with Fight club (1999), and the Scotsman Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting (1996)
In both cases, the film adaptation was the absolute catapult for its authors and the homonymous works. In the case of Fight Club it was directed by David Fincher and starred Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter; As for Trainspotting, it starred Ewan McGregor and was directed by Danny Boyle.
Both films are considered cult films and one of the best works of the 90s in underground culture (and outside of it as well, proclaiming themselves to be of great consumption and surpassing that fine line between the mainstream and auteur cinema due to the great acceptance that it had and that has been growing even more over time).
Trainspotting It is the portrait of a youth daughter of the working class but much more interested in having fun than in working, and who bases part of this leisure on drug use, without major life ambitions. Thanks to its big screen premiere, Welsh sold over a million copies in the UK alone, was translated into over 30 languages and has been the most stolen book in British bookshop history for years.
With 4 books of stories and 11 novels (the last one from last year, The Blade Artist -Anagram, 2021-, where characters from the acclaimed Trainspotting are kept), Welsh, born in Scotland in the working-class neighborhood of Muirhouse left school at the age of 16 and ended up emigrating to London attracted by the punk movement. He later returned to study in his native Scotland, once he got off heroin. As he himself acknowledges, part of his own essence and of what he experienced throughout his youth can be glimpsed in his characters.
As for the Palahniuk, with more than 17 novels behind him, is also a journalist and one of the most prolific authors of the acclaimed Generation X. As a characteristic and common element of his bibliography, the stories of his books usually begin at the chronological end, with the protagonist remembering the events that led him to the point where the book begins, and that is where the central story develops from. There is also usually a fundamental twist in this that is revealed near the end of the book related to the chronological ending (which the author himself calls "the hidden gun"). His approach is very minimalist, with short sentences and simple vocabulary, to get as close as possible to the way people tell stories.
Despite the different geographical origin of both authors and their novels, we could say that part of the great success of these two reference works so characteristic of Generation X is due to that taste for extremes typical of youth, capable of moving from each other always peeking over the edge of the abyss, and playing on the edge of what is politically correct and what is most disruptive.