More Modern Americana from Coupland

Patrick Down on Mon 24 July 2000
Susan Colgate is 28. A former Miss Teen America winner and child star of 'Meet the Blooms' her plane crashes over Nevada and she is the only survivor.

John Johnson is a movie producer whose last three films have all flopped. He dies for three minutes after a particularly nasty attack of the 'flu, and decides that it is time to change his life.

The story starts with a chance meeting in a Hollywood eaterie and then tails back to tell the life story of the two protagonists, culminating in a return to the present and the desperate attempts of John Johnson to track down Miss Colgate across Wyoming.

The book is typical Douglas Coupland. It's well written and easy to read....I got through it in about five hours, it's also a very enjoyable read, Coupland is a master of descriptive writing. Where it falls down is that it isn't terribly believable.

With this book, Coupland might at least have the excuse that he is dealing with the movie industry and the US child beauty pageant scene, two of the strangest subcultures known to man. Even so, his characters just don't behave plausibly. The near death experiences experienced by both protagonists lead them to change their lives, and to start 'searching' for 'something' .

Why ? Is this really what would happen if a bit-part actress survives an air crash, or a movie director gets the 'flu. Or is it just an excuse for Douglas Coupland to write yet another book where youngish Americans ask themselves why they are here ?

Don't get me wrong, it's worth a read, but don't read anything too significant into it.
Rating: 7.0

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