About American Rust
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (January 12, 2010)
Set in a beautiful but economically devastated Pennsylvania steel town, American Rust is a novel of the lost American dream and the desperation—as well as the acts of friendship, loyalty, and love—that arise from its loss. From local bars to train yards to prison, it is the story of two young men, bound to the town by family, responsibility, inertia, and the beauty around them, who dream of a future beyond the factories and abandoned homes.
Left alone to care for his aging father after his mother commits suicide and his sister escapes to Yale, Isaac English longs for a life beyond his hometown. But when he finally sets out to leave for good, accompanied by his temperamental best friend, former high school football star Billy Poe, they are caught up in a terrible act of violence that changes their lives forever.Evoking John Steinbeck’s novels of restless lives during the Great Depression, American Rust takes us into the contemporary American heartland at a moment of profound unrest and uncertainty about the future. It is a dark but lucid vision, a moving novel about the bleak realities that battle our desire for transcendence and the power of love and friendship to redeem us.
About Philipp Meyer
Philipp Meyer grew up in Baltimore, dropped out of high school, and got his GED when he was sixteen. After spending several years volunteering at a trauma center in downtown Baltimore, he attended Cornell University, where he studied English. Since graduating, Meyer has worked as a derivatives trader at UBS, a construction worker, and an EMT, among other jobs. His writing has been published in McSweeney’s, The Iowa Review, Salon.com, and New Stories from the South. From 2005 to 2008 Meyer was a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas. He splits his time between Texas and upstate New York.
A few words from Toni on the book:
I want to say that I have read a lot of reviews on this book recently. I read a few reviews on the book before I first started. I have to be honest and say I did not like all this talk of Steinbeck. Comparing the author to Steinbeck to me was annoying to me. It isn't wrong, but I just found it annoying. Quite possibly because East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath are on my top ten favorite books of all time. I was not buying it!
After reading about 100 pages into the book I just had to find more reviews and find out what people were saying about this book! And where the heck was I last year that I didn't get a chance to read this one? When I first started the book I read 30 pages, I remember thinking that this book is going to take me a while to read. I thought this because of the descriptive and detailed writing along with the narrative voice switches.... it switches in the same paragraph with the same character. I was tentative about that at first. The very next time I picked up the book to read, I didn't stop until over 100 pages later. Where did the time go? I was completely absorbed into the book. I had to force the cover shut to get some sleep. The unique and effective narration helped me to get inside each character and reside with the characters. It resonated with me through the night.
I am no longer annoyed with the Steinbeck reference. I tend to agree! The book is contemporary, and has just about every element that I look for in a book. The writing is current and relevant. The characters are as real as everyday. The writing is incredible with a strong and gritty, ominous and human plot. The book grabbed hold of me in a wonderous way.
"Meanwhile here you are. Temporary visitor on the sun's earth. Think your mother will be here forever and then she's gone. Still sinking in five years later. Disappeared in a day. Same as you will. Nothing you can see that won't outlast you--rocks sky sun. Watch a sunset and feel like you own it but it's been rising without you for a thousand years. No, he thought, more like several billion. Can't even get your head around the real number. You're the only one who even knows you exist. Born and die between the earth's heartbeats."
Prose, I say, prose. Just the way I like it. I just close my eyes after reading that and get that feeling like I am staring at the ocean or a great work of art. Some kind of feeling in between the two views. Prose with every day life and grit right there jumping off the pages at you.
As I was reading the above passage, I was with Isaac. I was with him contemplating life and feeling his life. The same way I was with Adam Trask in Salinas smelling the dusty air in the novel East of Eden. It was the same way that I experienced the same feelings of desperation I felt with "the Fambly" in Grapes of Wrath. I am one hundred percent satisfied that this is another Great American Novel, and I will make a cozy nook on my shelf for this one in my permanent library. It was born to be a classic. It is a little embarrassing when I get this way about a book. I just want to go on and on and on....so I will now I will talk about the giveaway.
I have a lovely copy of this book to offer. It will be sent from the Publisher.
Thank you Lisa from TLC book tours for arranging this tour and giveaway. Thank you Kathleen from Random House for the free copy for review.
Rules of the Giveaway - (How to get entries into a random drawing)
- Leave a comment on this post (with your email) and you get a single entry. +1
- If you are a follower you get another entry. +2
- Blog, Tweet or Announce and you will get another entry. +3
- US / Canada Only
- This contest ends February 5th, 2010. Winners will be notified shortly after.
Check out the other stops on the tour!!
Philipp Meyer’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, January 18th: Literary Feline
Tuesday, January 19th: Book Club Classics!
Wednesday, January 20th: A Circle of Books
Thursday, January 21st: One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books
Tuesday, January 26th: Luxury Reading
Thursday, January 28th: Ready When You Are, CB
Tuesday, February 2nd: Rough Edges
Thursday, February 4th: Bibliophile by the Sea
Monday, February 8th: Bibliofreak
Tuesday, February 9th: Becky’s Book Reviews
Thursday, February 11th: The 3 R’s Blog
Friday, February 12th: Beth Fish Reads
Thursday, February 18th: So Many Precious Books, So Little Time