House of Coates

Brad Zellar. Coffee House (Consortium, dist.), $20 trade paper (259p) ISBN 978-1-56689-370-1
Lester B. Morrison is the mythical subject of this pseudo-documentary, mixed-media work of prose and photography (the original was a limited edition from Little Brown Mushroom press). Author Zellar and photographer Alex Soth have rendered the story of a man who drops out of the “normal” world and becomes a foot soldier in the “ceaselessly retreating armies of the lonely.” The setting is a forlorn and unremarkable community on the outskirts of a Minnesota city (and, as the photos convey, a particularly cold and lifeless town): the perfect place for a forgotten man to hide from the world, a place where “every dream has a giant eraser poised above it, just waiting to do its job.” There’s a slight narrative arc—Lester meets another lost soul, Majel Eames, who introduces him to an apocalyptic religion. The conceit at work is that Lester is real, but this component is never terribly convincing, nor is it terribly necessary to this interesting, well-executed book. Ultimately, it’s less a narrative about Lester than it is a prose poem about loners and losers, the many Lesters who “never entirely disappear as adults, even if you still persist in not seeing them.” With 68 color photographs. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/04/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
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