I saw that [my son] Tom had recommended “House of Coates.” He is a good judge of reading material, considering he is three and a half decades younger than I, and so I decided to order it from Amazon. (It arrived the next day, BTW.)
Wow! Looking at the pictures I was really taken back to my youth. I grew up in Red Wing and the route to the airport and Southdale Shopping Center took us by the places Lester describes in the book – House of Coates (great burgers), the Airliner Motel, the travel plaza, and most notably the Pine Bend refinery; those flames always freaked me out a bit, still do. The picture of the airplane mounted on the roof of the motel has always stuck in my mind.
Nostalgia aside, the book is so different, so good, intriguing. I can see why J.K. Berger needed to take a field trip. Every character is rich, deep, disturbed – maybe so or maybe not. Decide for yourself.
Was Majel a savior? The priest an outcast? What about Lester?
What about Lester? Incapable of handling the complicated forms of collaborations that adulthood demands. Do you envy him? Pity him?