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
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