Miss Wyomingby Douglas Coupland, Sharon Williams, Aaron Fryc
From the bestselling author of Generation X and Microserfs comes the absurd and tender story of a hard-living movie producer and a former child beauty pageant contender who only find each other by losing themselves.
The Literary Supplement
"Coupland has at his disposal a dazzling array of tools with which to shape the emotions of his readers: the whimsy of a latter-day Jack Kerouac, the irony of a young Kurt Vonnegut, the poignancy of early John Irving."-Bookpage
"The self-wrought oracle of our age." John Fraser, Saturday Night
"Miss Wyoming is a light, frothy read that's fitfully amusing in spots and shot through with enough insight and sparkling metaphors to make for a worthwhile beach book.Coupland, a sculptor as well as a writer, also brings a visual artist's eye to his prose, and offers machete-sharp metaphors on nearly every pagecompulsively readable." -The Vancouver Courier, Jan 16, 2000
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Read an Excerpt
"You'd think our family had invented the atom bomb from the way they all lorded about the eastern seaboard. But then they did this really weird thing."
"What was that?" Susan asked.
"We went through our own family tree with a chain saw. Ruthless, totally ruthless. Anybody who was found to be socially lacking was erased. It was like they'd never even lived. I have dozens of great-uncles and aunts and cousins who I've never met, and their only crime was to have had humble lives. One great-uncle was a prison warden. Gone. Another married a woman who pronounced 'theater' thee-ay-ter. Gone. And heaven help anybody who slighted another family member. People weren't challenged or punished in our family. They were merely erased."
They were quiet. They'd walked maybe a mile by now. John felt as close to Susan as paint is to a wall. John said, "Tell me something else, Susan. Anything. I like your voice."
"My voice? Anybody can hear my voice almost any time of day anywhere on earth. All you need is a dish that picks up signals from satellite stations that play nonstop cheesy early eighties TV shows." They were outside a record store. Two mohawked punk fossils from 1977 walked past them.
John looked at her and said, "Susan, have you ever seen a face, say -- in a magazine or on TV -- and obsessed on it, and maybe secretly hoped every day, at least once, that you'd run into the person behind the face?"
"I take it that's a yes?"
"How come you're asking?"
John told Susan about a vision he'd had at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center the year before that led him to make a drastic life decision. He toldSusan that it was her face and voice that had come to him during his vision. "But what happened was that months later, after I'd gone and completely chucked out all of my old life, I realized I didn't have this great big mystical Dolby THX vision. I realized that there'd merely been some old episode of that TV show you used to star in playing on the hospital's TV set beside my bed. And it must have melted into my dream life."
It made a form of sense to Susan that this man with sad, pale eyes like snowy TV sets should have seen her as a refuge and then found her. Years before she'd stopped believing in fate. Fate was corny. Yet with John that long-lost tingle of destiny was once again with her.
A leaf blower cut the moment in two, and just as John was about to raise his voice, Cedars-Sinai came into view far in the distance, between a colonnade of cypress trees and a billboard advertising gay ocean-liner cruises. John's shirt was now soaked through with sweat, so they stopped at a convenience store and bought an XXL I-LOVE-LA white cotton shirt and two bottles of water. He changed out in the parking lot to the amused ogling of teenage boys who yelled out, "Boy supermodel steals the catwalk!"
John said, "Fuck 'em," and they crossed Sunset. It was getting to be late in the afternoon, and the traffic was crabby and sclerotic. They entered a residential neighborhood. Susan was feeling dizzy and sleepy and said, "I need to sit down," so they did, on the curb before a Wedgwood-blue French country-style house under the suspicious gaze of an Asian woman on the second floor.
"It's the sun," said Susan. "It's not like it used to be. Or, I can't take as much as I used to." She lay back on the Bermuda grass.
Suddenly worried he'd been the only one spilling the beans, John said, "Tell me about the crash. The Seneca crash. I'll bet you never talk about it, do you?"
"Not the full story, no."
"So tell me." Susan sat up and John put his arm around her. Staring at the pavement, like Prince William behind his mother's coffin, she told the story. And she might have talked to him all night, but two things happened: the lawn sprinklers spritzed into frantic life, and a Beverly Hills police patrol car soundlessly materialized. Two grim-faced officers got out, hands on weapons on hips. Soaked, Susan started to stand up, but her tired knees buckled. John helped pull her up, saying, "Jesus, we try and take a quick rest and in comes the SWAT team. Who pays your salaries, you goons? I pay your salaries. . . ."
"There's no SWAT team, Mr. Johnson. Stay calm," said one of the officers. "Ma'am" -- he looked more closely at her -- "Mrs. Thraice? Can we help you? Give you a lift? You were great in Dynamite Bay." Dynamite Bay was a low-budget action picture now in wide video release and not doing too badly. Adam had been proclaiming it as the revival of Susan's acting career.
She took a professional tone. "Hello, boys. Yes, I'd love a ride." She turned toward John and smiled regretfully. "I'm great for long walks but otherwise I'm not really Outward Bound material. Another day, another pilgrimage." She entered the rear passenger seat, and the officer shut the door. She rolled down the window. "To Beechwood Canyon, boys." She looked out at John. "You know -- I don't even know my own phone number. Call Adam Norwitz." Just as the cruiser pulled away, she rolled up a silk scarf, wet from the sprinkler, and handed it to John. "What actually happened after the crash is a much better story. I should have told you that instead. Phone me." And then she was gone and John stood, clutching the silk to his heart while the sprinkler drenched his feet, as though they were seeds.
Meet the Author
Douglas Coupland was born on December 30, 1961, on a Canadian Armed Forces base in Baden-Sollingen, (West) Germany. He has a degree in Japanese business science and in sculpture. He grew up and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Coupland's previous books are Generation X (the origin of the popular phrase), Microserfs, Shampoo Planet, Polaroids From the Dead, Life After God, and Girlfriend in a Coma.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Unfortunately, I'm inclined to agree with the opinions of the reviewers below, who were also expecting more from this novel. One-dimensional characters in a familiar plot, doesn't make for fun reading.
I would recommend this book because it has adventure, secrets, romance and more. A very good read.
Douglas Coupland is a great author. He pushes you to think about life as it is, were it is going and puts us in check with our values. In Miss Wyoming this theme is still their but not executed as well as Shampoo Planet or Girlfriend in a Coma. For those of you who have made this your first Coupeland work try something else.
I was so excited to read this book. I love Copeland's sense of humor and style. This was a little hard to follow. There was some parts that I found amusing though.
I have been a Douglas Coupland fan since Microserfs (one of my favorite novels) and I've watched in bewilderment as every book he has written since has not only paled in comparrison, but has been absolutely horrible. Unfortunately, Miss Wyoming is no different. The author does such a poor job in developing the characters in this book that I felt as though I was reading his personal notes that he would someday take and turn into a real novel. The storyline was hooked together with a bunch of unrealistic coincidences. The only virtue of this sad little book was its length... it is fairly short, so I didn't have to waste that much time getting through it.
i was so excited to read this book...i checked out ebay for advance copies...but i held back...then i was short on loot when it came out and had to borrow it from a friend...thank god i didn't buy it....without a doubt this is my least favorite coupland book...all the questions and the themes of his earlier works are watered down here....yes it's a quick read and at times entertaining, but for mr coupland it is definately sub-par...