Waylon McPhee, middle-aged and divorced, moves back in with his widowed father in hopes of coasting through another year.
But his father is dating again, and his sisters are trying to manipulate Waylon into asking their father for their inheritance before he gives it to a second wife. The sarcastic Waylon, juggling his relationships and responsibilities caustically but light-heartedly, hangs on hoping to recover something he lost in his youth: enough momentum to reach escape velocity. By turns humorous and melancholy, this novel cruises to a conclusion where all its characters satisfyingly reap what they have sown. Gerald Duff is a splendid writer of sparkling dialogue, and has perfect pitch for the ennui of contemporary life in the suburbs of the petroleum-chemical corridor that stretches along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Mississippi.
Selected Reviews of Coasters
"Deft, often droll comedy is at the fore in Duff’s story…Hilarious scenes of family outings and school play rehearsals round out the realistic depiction of life in the oft-neglected other New South. … wit and subtlety as simply satisfying as a tall cold one on a hot Gulf Coast afternoon." --Publishers Weekly
"Like its title, Coasters soars and plummets…you hit a point near the middle of the ride where gravity feels as if it has been suspended. Duff … roars to a fine finish." --St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Gerald Duff’s dialogue is among the best being written, and his sense of the absurd is Portis-like (there’s even a little set piece about a chicken). A native Texan, Duff has gone back to his roots for this novel, and the oil patch is a funny place indeed." --Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Gerald Duff’s newest book, Coasters, is a comic novel with a serious undertone. A gifted dialogue writer, Duff writes with compassion for that part of us that lives 'just south of the line of consciousness.'" --That Bookstore in Blytheville Newsletter
"Coasters is Gerald Duff’s sixth novel, and it is full of the assurance of an accomplished novelist. If Coasters sounds offbeat, perhaps it is. If its characters sound desperate, they are. Desperation comes from too much coasting, from not taking the risk. It is a roller coaster ride, this novel. It is also a poignant comment on our need for 'something,' as the 'big wheel' of the roller coaster of our lives keeps on turning. Coasters is a joyride of a novel, and, in the best of ways, very much a novel about the New South with its collection of 'coasters' on the Texas Gulf Coast." --Anniston Star
"Duff, who has drawn acclaim from writers like Lee Smith and Madison Smartt Bell for his previous novels, offers a frantic fictional account of midlife crises in the New South in Coasters." --Huntsville Times
"Gerald Duff’s Coasters is a deftly written novel that alternates between dark comedy and surreal tragedy….With witty, sardonic dialogue and a thought-provoking core, Coasters is original, compelling, and highly recommended." --Wisconsin Bookwatch
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