"Frederic Raphael's fiercely hilarious 19th novel ... is superb at capturing lies, pain, evasions,
half-thoughts and self-deception. His dialogue is so supple and vivid you may feel tempted
to read it aloud, even while you'll be glad you're not miserable enough to be that funny."
—Washington Post Book World
"Beautifully capturing the labyrinthine strategies of intelligent, articulate people who
can't express their deepest feelings, the novel is hilarious, infuriating, and ultimately tragic."
—San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"Already published and well-received in Britain, where Raphael is widely known,
the novel succeeds as a graph of human volatility and a measure of a relationship's resilience."
In the 1967 film Two for the Road, Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney comically battled their way across Europe, spouting the young Raphael's dialogue. Thirty years later, Raphael has sent an older, more fiercely warring couple on the road, this time with the dialogue of a master and with anguish unleavened by stars' good looks or Henry Mancini's lovely violins.
Coast to Coast is a study of marital torment, in which love, hatred, and self-hatred fuel rapid-fire dialogue that is both painful and a pleasure to read.
The Pierces are driving from New England to Los Angeles to attend their son's wedding, give him their vintage Jaguar, and then go their separate ways. Together in close quarters for the last time, the retired sitcom writer and his wife pick at each other's weaknesses and excavate each other's betrayals with an edgy mixture of humor and cruelty. Each of their stops — to visit their children, other family members, old friends and old lovers — opens a few more wounds.
Coast to Coast was made into a film, starring Richard Dreyfuss and Judy Davis, and directed by Paul Mazursky (director of such pathbreaking films as An Unmarried Woman, Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, and Down and Out in Beverly Hills), with a screenplay by the author. Also featured in the cast are Maximilian Schell, Selma Blair, Fred Ward, basketball star John Salley, and Paul Mazursky himself.
$22.95 cloth, 231 pages, ISBN 0-945774-42-7
To read the first chapter of Coast to Coast, click here.
To see how Coast to Coast was received when it came out in Great Britain last year, see below.
What British Reviewers Said About Coast to Coast
"One of Raphael's funniest and most severe commentaries on marriage ... Splendid."
—Judy Cooke, The Mail on Sunday
"Raphael repeatedly nails the self-defeating, bitter exchanges of dying and dead relationships with an assurance that is crippling. No remark is simple chance, no comment merely passing. ... [He] has produced a novel which, in its unrelenting intensity, is an invigorating read. The blend of pathos and wit is finely mixed to perfection. ... You won't feel cheery about life afterwards. But it should give you sufficient cause to consider the way we lead our lives and the choices we make or avoid."
—Brian Hennigan, Scotland on Sunday
"[Y]ou get the impression he can write this kind of effortlessly brilliant dialogue standing on his head. ... Ultimately, this is one of those 'the way we live now' books, and a painfully accomplished one."
—Phil Baker, Sunday Times of London
"[T]he best part of this edgy, funny novel is the repartee between the extraordinary circus of characters who make up the Pierces' extraordinary circle of family and friends. Throughout a series of adventures and mishaps, they snarl and snigger, wisecrack and wound in a quickfire barrage of half-truths that tell us more about the pair than whole pages of descriptive writing could possibly do."
—Christine Barker, Birmingham Post
"Bleakly enjoyable, and filled with some really terrifically hateful conversations."
"The author's fine grasp of tragedy enables him to follow the family's fatal flaw through the book's expertly paced wise-cracking to an inevitable descent into chaos."
—Tom Payne, Daily Telegraph
"[Coast to Coast's] pathos, like its humour, is uncompromising and wonderfully sustained."
—David Shields, Oxford Times