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All Families Are Psychotic

by Rob Friesel

All Familes Are PsychoticArgh. This book was maddening. Coming off the heels of Generation X and Microserfs, I suppose my expectations were pretty high but this really felt like the literary equivalent of bottoming out.

With All Families are Psychotic: A Novel, Coupland thrusts us into this absurdly over-the-top comically dismal present tense-ish Florida that just doesn’t ever seem to come together. It’s unreliably realistic that’s as much a future-proofed snapshot Now as it is an immediately dated fantasy of yesterday’s tomorrow.

Sure, there are a few choice lines but every time it seems like it is starting to ramp up, we discover that he is feeding us a false start. It was like vintage GenX-era Coupland was rearing his head every 10 pages or so, about to start the novel only to find that he had lapsed into … I don’t know, some feeble attempt at co-opting Oprah’s book club. It was like reading a book that hemorrhaged interest and the further I got, the more desperate I became to enjoy it. By page 201, I had my enthusiam defibrillator paddles out and was shocking myself. Clear! *BZZZT!* Is it good yet? No? Clear!

I suppose I am not sure what else to say about this one. The surreal nihilism of Generation X overlaid on the mortality subject matter? Mushroom clouds instead of pill caddies? Was I looking for Microserfs‘ sensitive onion layers of humanity trying on some new clothes? Costco lamentations instead of preposterous bullet wounds to the liver?

The mind reels.

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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