Cover image for Wyoming
Title:
Wyoming
Author:
Gifford, Barry, 1946-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Arcade Pub. : Distributed by Time Warner, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
129 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781559705233
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

"[Gifford's] new novel, "Wyoming," is a tender and understated story."-Jonathan Miles in "The New York Times Book Review" A woman and her young son travel by car through the southern and Midwestern United States in this heartbreakingly spare novel-in-dialogue. As the mother drives, she and the boy, Roy, trade impressions of the landscape and of life, approaching an understanding of how the two interrelate. "Everybody needs Wyoming," she tells him.


Author Notes

Poet, novelist, and playwright Barry Gifford was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 18, 1946. He briefly attended both the University of Missouri and Cambridge University. He published a book of poems in 1973 and started writing novels in 1980. He collaborated with David Lynch on Lost Highway and the HBO series Hotel Room. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

"My insistent attempts at immortality have resulted in a body of work anyone can contemplate without interference from interpretation." So says an "unrepentant erotic" in one of Barry Gifford's stories, but it could just as well stand as a summation of Gifford's own, unclassified but oddly entertaining fiction, on view here in two typically idiosyncratic new works. My Last Martini brings together seven short stories (two of which appeared in a previous collection, New Mysteries of Paris). Unlike his noir novels, which thrive on the often-outrageous juxtaposition of the mundane and the surreal, Gifford's stories are much quieter, often featuring a reflective, even melancholic narrator musing on past events in a flat style that masks passion and sadness. In the title story, for example, a woman sits down beside the narrator in a Paris bar and, over martinis, tells a story about her family's legacy of sexual dysfunction. In another, an 87-year-old Cuban gangster returns to Havana after 40 years in an apparently futile search for his son. All of these vaguely elegiac stories stand defiantly on their own terms, absolutey resisting deconstruction as if they were each made from an element already reduced to its essence. In Wyoming, Gifford puts his individualistic spin on the road novel. A woman, the divorced wife of a Chicago mobster, and her nine-year-old son are traveling through the South and Midwest, going nowhere and everywhere, the reason behind their perpetual motion never made clear. Their story is told entirely in dialogue, as mother and son share memories, fears, and dreams. The boy, Roy, dreams of safety in a place free of worry, a place he calls Wyoming ("Everybody needs a Wyoming"). Maybe so, but their wanderings move every direction but west. Gifford is both confounding and compelling here. We crave more conventional backstory about these people, but even without their vitae, we know them intimately. This is a road novel without a map and without a destination, but when we finish it, we know we've been somewhere real. --Bill Ott


Publisher's Weekly Review

Prolific novelist (Wild at Heart) and screenwriter (Lost Highway) Gifford delivers a sedate story written almost entirely in meandering dialogue between a mother and her precocious nine- year-old son, Roy. The book takes place in the mid-1950s as Kitty and Roy drive across the American South and Midwest. Traveling from place to placeDrarely leaving the carDthey try to pass time in idle, soft-focus banter about their hopes and disappointments, occasionally musing about such big topics as fate, personal loss, divorce, death and the soul. The background unfolds: Kitty has left Roy's dishonest father, whose health is failing, while Roy craves reassurances that both parents still love him. But content mirrors form in that, just as the two never arrive at any final destination, their desultory conversations rarely resolve issues or discover anything new; and the novel's brief, episodic chapters ensure that no subject is dealt with profoundly or in full. Action is generally light (a train passes, a road curves, a hotel room is dirty), but even when more dramatic events happen (i.e., Roy's father takes a turn for the worse), the voices of mother and son are sometimes indistinguishable and their reminiscences and longings are so vague and personal as to be irrelevant. The pair seem lost, both on their journey and in lax, unremarkable conversation, leaving the reader to wonder why Gifford won't give them a bit more gas, a few more twists in the road and, above all, some direction. Line drawings by Gifford throughout. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Prolific novelist (Wild at Heart) and screenwriter (Lost Highway) Gifford delivers a sedate story written almost entirely in meandering dialogue between a mother and her precocious nine- year-old son, Roy. The book takes place in the mid-1950s as Kitty and Roy drive across the American South and Midwest. Traveling from place to place--rarely leaving the car--they try to pass time in idle, soft-focus banter about their hopes and disappointments, occasionally musing about such big topics as fate, personal loss, divorce, death and the soul. The background unfolds: Kitty has left Roy's dishonest father, whose health is failing, while Roy craves reassurances that both parents still love him. But content mirrors form in that, just as the two never arrive at any final destination, their desultory conversations rarely resolve issues or discover anything new; and the novel's brief, episodic chapters ensure that no subject is dealt with profoundly or in full. Action is generally light (a train passes, a road curves, a hotel room is dirty), but even when more dramatic events happen (i.e., Roy's father takes a turn for the worse), the voices of mother and son are sometimes indistinguishable and their reminiscences and longings are so vague and personal as to be irrelevant. The pair seem lost, both on their journey and in lax, unremarkable conversation, leaving the reader to wonder why Gifford won't give them a bit more gas, a few more twists in the road and, above all, some direction. Line drawings by Gifford throughout. (July) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.