THE EXIT COACH
A Novella and Stories
How do we find the courage to change? In The Exit Coach, a collection of six stories and a novella, the characters arrive at an impasse that requires them to step out of the wreckage of their habituated lives. It is the entrance of an unexpected voice—a visitor from France, a retired talent scout, an invisible friend, a midnight phone call, or even a wild animal—that disrupts their patterns of behavior and illuminates the possibilities they’ve been blind to, pointing the way to an exit they’ve dreamt of, but lacked the courage to enter.
The Exit Coach is a book of wonderful, astute stories. Staffel's characters keep falling upon whatever they least expect, as the the plots move beautifully toward a just view of human bumbling. A remarkable collection.
There are so many features to admire in Megan Staffel's work, including her range of characters, her understanding of her people, the wry humor in her descriptions, the precision of her language, her wisdom in general, and maybe most striking, the love she affords her heroes and heroines. The stories in this beautiful collection are dignified by deep feeling.
THE EXIT COACH is a joy of a book. The first seven stories (my favorite is the massage story, "Mischief," with its weave of surprises) only prepare us for the title novella, an irresistible masterpiece about coming of age, of talent, and of self. Staffel's love for people, for resilient humanity, oddities, and connections is evident; essentially her vision is a comic one, "loopy…sexy…" like the dancing of the young girl who happens into opportunity and her genuine powers like Alice in Wonderland. I didn't want the book to end!
--DeWitt Henry, founder of Ploughshares, author and editor