Books

Busting open the generation gap

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“Boomer1” by Daniel Torday

“Boomer1” by Daniel Torday

Credit:

Stefan Abrams, St. Martin’s Press

If you were in your teens or early 20s in the late 1960s through the ‘70s, a lot of your motivation to grow your hair long, or drop acid or follow a band across the country was about rejecting the picket-fence values of your Greatest Generation parents. 

So, perhaps, it’s karma that today, as those baby boomers’ kids are in their 20s and 30s, there’s a new generation gap ripe with tension. Members of both sides feel mutual resentment and disapproval. Even if you’re not a part of those embattled generations you would have read about the rift in click-baity headlines like, “Millennials are entitled, narcissistic, and lazy,” and “How the baby boomers destroyed everything.

It’s that real-world generational divide that is at the center of a new novel called “Boomer1,” by Daniel Torday. 

“I wanted to just ask the question, what would be a really intractable aspect of identity politics — generational conflict — and then what would it look like to just spend a couple of years trying to play that out in my head.”

Torday gives Kurt Andersen a peek into the darkly satirical world he created in “Boomer1” and also talks about the influence music had on the story and shares some of the original music from the soundtrack — by bands like The Walkman and Dr. Dog — for the novel.

Readings from the book were performed by Alex Kramer, an actor living in Brooklyn who once spoke to Studio 360 about his unique day job as an unannounced standardized patient. You can listen to his story here.

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