Miss Wyoming, Douglas Coupland

By Peter Carty, 10 April 2000

Coupland’s new novel performs his usual trick. Ostensibly it’s about an actress and a film producer who, independently, decide to disappear. But as ever, Coupland is writing about the ways in which individuals diffuse their personalities through new technologies and consumer products. There’s a distantiation that’s not alienation: it’s altogether more comforting because the de-personalisation involves an ambient cocooning by techno-society - and perhaps that’s what attracts us to his writing. Yet he also involves his characters in parable-like tales with redemptive endings; a recurrence which presupposes a moral autonomy that techno encroachment denies. Maybe it is the subliminal reconciliation of these contradictory strands that keeps readers coming back. Or maybe we want to be saved, new millenium or not.

Peter Carty