“You are all a ‘génération perdue!’,” the garage owner shouted at the young mechanic, who couldn’t fix Gertrude Stein’s car fast enough.
“That is what you are. That’s what you all are … all of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation.”
Stein later told the story to her dear friend, Ernest Hemingway, who’s largely responsible when historians today refer to those born between 1883 an 1900 by said name.
What Hemingway alluded to in The Sun Also Rises isn’t lost in the sense of gone, missing or forsaken, but “disoriented, wandering, directionless — a recognition that there was great confusion and aimlessness among the war’s survivors in the early post-war years,” as Samuel Hynes points out in A War Imagined.
When I look at my generation of fellow millennials, I can’t help but feel as if history is about to repeat itself.
Hence, this open letter.