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House of Coates

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  112 ratings  ·  18 reviews
"An exquisitely haunting, melancholic treasure of a book about people who drop out and populate tiny towns and rural communities, and the longing and loneliness of the human condition."—Judy Natal, Photo-Eye

"One of the great American moves is vagrancy, the freedom to drift, the right to look at things from outside the mainstream. The prose in House of Coates hums with this
Paperback, 140 pages
Published October 21st 2014 by Coffee House Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  112 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
The desolate photos added to this sketch of a character, but overall the book left me cool. Aside from the presentation, the story didn't feel unique or particular. I felt sympathy for Lester, the broken man, but didn't have anything invested in the story. Perhaps it would have been more successful if the more general sections of text had taken a different approach... I don't know, maybe more philosophical, or using the cool approach of social science and statistics, or anecdotal e.g. with lists ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Citizens of Coates, MN
Recommended to Kate by: Andy Sturdevant
Lester B. Morrison abides.
Paul Swanson
Lies become myths.

I feel broken sometimes so it was nice to read about someone who IS broken.

I grew up 10 minutes north of this place in suburbia. A stark contrast but still the refinery was a part of my landscape.

There are some beautiful sentences and photos in this book. I think I could argue that it is the first Midwestern Gothic story that I've read.

The last 10 pages or so included a secondary story that I think was the best part of the book but it wouldn't have been anything without the fi
Chuck Knudsen
"The world is one sprawling racket of collaboration, and there are those who don't carry the collaboration gene."

Sometimes a book winds up on the hold shelf for me and I do not remember why.

It is an interesting, fast read, a story that conveys loneliness and sadness through words punctuated with frequent lonely and sad pictures. Like I said, interesting, but not something that I really enjoyed reading.
Garrett Bing
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I get older I really appreciate authors that can communicate so much with so little. Maybe I am just losing my patience for wordy, complex stories, but House of Coates loses nothing for its brevity. It was a small, wintry treasure that captured an often ignored part of life in the upper Midwest. The story was lonely, and cold, but it ended with a sense of contentment, if not hope, and hell, it only took a day to read.
Jay Jesse
Apr 06, 2016 rated it liked it
A strange, melancholy and somewhat hopeful book. I would have liked a little more resolution to the story (maybe I'm missing something) but the prose is excellent and the use of pictures to help tell the story was a neat and compelling touch. The story is almost as elusive as its protagonist but was worth the read.
Catherine Corman
A mad person not helped out of his trouble by anything real begins to trust what is not real because it helps him and he needs it because real things continue not to help him.

-Lydia Davis, quoted in House of Coates
Beth Peterson
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having grown up in Southern Mn I am very familiar with the area where the book is set. I found the text & photos to be hauntingly beautiful. It opened up my awareness of "lost men" whose lives I really had never much considered.
Jan 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Sad and haunting. A quick read, with pictures that really capture this area of Minnesota. I think we all know someone like Lester B. Morrison. Maybe next time, I will give them more of my time.
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it, but yet felt like I was missing something. The pictures were haunting and gave me weird dreams, too. Overall, a thought provoking read.
Would rate as 3.75, as I'm not particularly interested in Sad Men and Women With Savior Complexes, but the format is intriguing and that's enough for me. Good mood book.
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
so some guys drove down 52 in the winter and thought they understood the area, but they don't. isolation they get, but this is a very wintry book where all they can see is the Valley of Ashes etc.
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Depressing, yet a haunting reminder of loneliness that exists.
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is short, strange, and slightly melancholy. It's almost just as much about the pictures as it is the words.

Definitely an experience, this is one of the oddest books I've ever read.
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2014
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