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Miss Wyoming Paperback – Feb 2000


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Paperback, Feb 2000
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; 1st. Edition edition (Feb 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002259834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002259835
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,963,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Heroine of this outstanding tale is Miss Wyoming, Susan Colgate, teen beauty-queen and low-rent soap actress. Dragooned into stardom by her demonically pushy, hillbilly mother, Susan's career is at rock-bottom. When she finds herself sole survivor of an air-crash, she views it as her opportunity to vanish, embarking on a voyage of personal discovery.

Meanwhile, John Johnson, debauched star of such Hollywood legends as Bel Air PI², also longs to vanish. After a near-death experience, where he is treated to a vision of Susan's face, he roams the badlands of the western States. Back in L.A., a chance meeting sets him on a mission to unravel the mystery of Susan Colgate.

Coupland has a genius for capturing the absurdities of modern existence and using them as backdrop for a tale of hope and fulfilment. The curses of the cyber-age--junk-mail and web-junkies, fast food, jaded TV weather forecasters--teem around the central story, creating a vivid and darkly funny tale. His peripheral characters are just as richly drawn. A scriptwriter and his supernaturally intelligent girlfriend, a recluse who spends his evening generating Internet rumours--all manage to be blessed and cursed, numbed by their pointless existences but full of humanity when put to the test. Picture Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut co-writing Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and you come halfway to grasping Coupland's uniquely funny and thoughtful brand of storytelling. --Matthew Baylis

Review

Praise for Girlfriend in a Coma:

‘An ambitious new urban myth… Coupland has managed to marry a parable to his sociological observational skills, at the same time avoiding a mawkish, sentimental story… A dark, prescient book, a meditation on the mystery of life, the next step in a continuing search for meaning.’
Mike Bradley, The Times

‘A millennial novel of a very subtle and interesting kind. It’s visually brilliant, full of extraordinary imagery, fresh like new paint. I was absolutely knocked over by it.’
Tom Paulin, Late Review


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 April 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm a great admirer of Douglas Coupland's gifts: his memorable use of simile, his empathy with his characters, and his gift for revealing love and beauty in the most unpromising of locations. Here, he turns his eye to a satirical treatment of fame, beauty contests, making movies and fandom with the tale of washed-out film director John Johnson's pursuit of ex-child beauty queen / soap opera star Susan Colgate. This takes quite a while (the whole book, even) because there's a lot of doubling back to show you how they became the damaged people they are. Some of this exposition is done quite explicitly (including toe-curling scenes of each of them eating out of garbage cans), but it's all done - I think - to reinforce the redemption that comes into their lives with the discovery of true love.

Unfortunately, by the time that turned up, I could feel my attention wandering (at one point, I realized that I was unsure about the difference between some of the minor characters, which isn't a good sign). To be fair, there are some good moments: Coupland gives you an insight into the life of the semi-famous that's valuable in a celebrity-obsessed culture, and he hasn't lost his gift for turning a phrase: for example, at one point, Susan highlights the Catholic guilt of her would-be (married) lover with "Excuse *me*, Larry. Pope on line three", which made me smile. This gift allows him to deftly summarise a setting with just a few words, e.g. (p183) "They were breakfasting in the Alpine Room of the Denver Marriott. It was seven-fifteen Tuesday morning, at an orientation meeting and 'Prayer Wake-Up with Turkey Sausage - Turkey, the Low-fat Pork Substitute'".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Feb 2000
Format: Paperback
A self-confessed Coupland junkie, I don't know quite what to make of his latest. It once again has uncharted subject matter, glorious characters-as-possibilities, and pretty much all the warmth and zeitgeist-grabbing accuracy of his previous works, yet it somehow doesn't allow the reader to engage with it in the same way as "GenX" and the story collection "Life after God".
Where the hyperreal fantasy episodes of "Girlfriend in a Coma" pulled you in and left you breathless, the flights from reality in Miss Wyoming come across as absurd plot contrivances. They wink at you with a "God, you wouldn't believe this if it happened in a book" impudence, but end up causing the same empty ache that John experiences on realising that Susan didn't appear to him in a sublime vision at all, but was merely his own post-resuscitation confusion of a mid afternoon TV re-run.
Having said that, Vanessa, the freakishy intelligent think-tanker and Ryan, the shrine-building scriptwriter are my favourite DC creations to date. A book to re-read, if not to treasure forever.
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By A Customer on 6 Feb 2000
Format: Paperback
Although Couplands writing is as easy as ever, and although his flow of observations and modern day observations is as acute as in his previous books - this novel never really goes anywhere (maybe having tried for the big idea in "Girlfriend in a Coma" and failing to find it, Coupland set his sights a little lower this time). The characters are only a little more than stereotypes, and although their backgrounds are sketched in for clues as to motivation, there is no real sense of the pain that must have driven them. The plot is entertaining, but relies on coincidence - which is fine if the ultimate purpose is worth it...but what is the conclusion of the book? There is no trancendance that lets you buy into the coincidences (say in the way a Keislowski film does). Read it and see if it matches the sleek style that the writer can produce without seemingly trying. There was a great deal in the plot (the disappearing heroine, the family reunnion, the omnipresence of tv, the superhuman data-mining sidekick...) and its resolution that reminded me of Thomas Pynchon's "Vineland", and it leads like a less fantastical gloss on that book; all shiny surface and no real depth.But even so, still a thousand times better than the vast majority of meaningless self-concious writing that is around.
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By A Customer on 22 April 2000
Format: Paperback
Douglas Coupland is one of America's best writers at the moment, and Miss Wyoming sees him moving on from ultra-zeitgeisty novels to something with a wider resonance. Again Coupland's theme is the search for meaning in people's lives in the face of relentlessly shallow popular culture. As with Girlfriend in a Coma there is a surreal magical edge to the story which leads us to suspend our literal sense of what 'is' and enjoy the story.
Coupland has yet to write a bad novel, however this is not his best. That is probably because his characters are more difficult to identify with because they are the sort of people who star in movies and soaps on Channel 5. I think most people have more in common with the nerds and losers in Microserfs and Generation X!
Like his other novels, Miss Wyoming is funny and perceptive and surprisingly emotional, and I am really looking forward to Coupland's next one!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Nov 2001
Format: Paperback
Nobody is better than Douglas Coupland at exploring the melancholy of the modern soul. Bret Easton Ellis has a similar view of the emptiness and restlessness of contemporary life, but whereas for Ellis's characters the result is narcissism and dehumanisation, Coupland spins bittersweet tales of learning to live with it, love with it, and be content, if not exactly happy.
To Coupland devotees, 'Miss Wyoming' is very much more of the same. Susan Colgate, her very name redolent of the empty, whiter-than-white magic of branding, is almost a parody of synthetic, commercialised modern existence. A woman whose very self-identity is indistinct from her vainglorious junk-media persona. Nonetheless her thoughts and wants are everywoman, albeit writ large and in flourescent colours. 'Miss Wyoming' is the story of how almost by accident she stumbles to happiness and finds real feeling under the plastic schlock that has passed for her past. The themes it explores filter back into experiences with which the reader identifies at every step.
It's not a great novel. In particular, it seems at times unable to decide whether or not it has, or needs, a plot. But it is a good novel - not Coupland's best, but still a well-written tale of emptiness and indistinct longing which nonetheless becomes sweet, charming, and even life-affirming towards its conclusion.
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