Miss Wyoming

Blaine Kyllo

When the reviews of Douglas Coupland’s Miss Wyoming (Random House) first came out, I was sitting in a diner on Yonge Street eating scrambled eggs and hash browns. This time Coupland’s lost souls are John Johnson, a movie producer, and Susan Colgate, an actor and child beauty pageant star. They find ways to lose their bodies as well: John divests himself of all material possessions and hits the road. Susan, the sole survivor of a plane crash, scurries from the wreckage and is presumed dead. I was pleased to find that Coupland distances himself from his traditional first-person structure: Miss Wyoming is told in the third person and jumps between characters, perspectives and time. A clever critic of American culture (both main characters find relief at McDonald’s while they are lost), Coupland can make us laugh with his ability to coin phrases: “I was on the beauty circuit since about the age of JonBenet-and-a-half . . .” His themes haven’t really changed but neither has our media-saturated world, in which everyone is lonely. The ending of Miss Wyoming is a perfect comment on a culture that owes far too much to Hollywood.

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