Rust: Book summary and reviews of Rust by Eliese Colette Goldbach

Rust

A Memoir of Steel and Grit

by Eliese Colette Goldbach

Rust by Eliese Colette Goldbach X
Rust by Eliese Colette Goldbach
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Book Summary

A young woman's debut memoir of grit and tenacity, as she returns to the conservative hometown she always longed to escape to earn a living in the steel mill that casts a shadow over Cleveland.

Steel is the only thing that shines in the belly of the mill...

To ArcelorMittal Steel Eliese is known as #6691: Utility Worker, but this was never her dream. Fresh out of college, eager to leave behind her conservative hometown and come to terms with her Christian roots, Eliese found herself applying for a job at the local steel mill. The mill is everything she was trying to escape, but it's also her only shot at financial security in an economically devastated and forgotten part of America.

In Rust, Eliese brings the reader inside the belly of the mill and the middle American upbringing that brought her there in the first place. She takes a long and intimate look at her Rust Belt childhood and struggles to reconcile her desire to leave without turning her back on the people she's come to love. The people she sees as the unsung backbone of our nation.

Faced with the financial promise of a steelworker's paycheck, and the very real danger of working in an environment where a steel coil could crush you at any moment or a vat of molten iron could explode because of a single drop of water, Eliese finds unexpected warmth and camaraderie among the gruff men she labors beside each day.

Appealing to readers of Hillbilly Elegy and Educated, Rust is a story of the humanity Eliese discovers in the most unlikely and hellish of places, and the hope that therefore begins to grow.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Goldbach's evocative prose paints a Dantean vision of the mill...but she discovers in the plant's quirky, querulous employees an ethic of empathy and solidarity that bridges ideological divides. The result is an insightful and ultimately reassuring take on America's working class." - Publishers Weekly

"The narrative sags every now and then, but one cheers for Goldbach when she's finally offered the teaching post to which she's so long aspired...An affecting, unblinking portrait of working-class life." - Kirkus Reviews

"Bringing her perspective as an outsider—both as a woman and a liberal—to this insightful account of the steel worker's lot, Goldbach displays refreshing candor and hard-earned knowledge about the issues that divide us and the work that unites us." - Booklist

"This beautifully told, nuanced memoir will strike a chord with fans of J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, and pique the interest of sociology scholars." - Library Journal

"Eliese Colette Goldbach uses formal experiment, broken narrative, and a voice that admits doubt and questions the terms of its telling to fight silencing. Masterful form is often a question of well-managed rupture." - Leslie Jamison, New York Times bestselling author of The Recovering

"There have been a lot of books written about life in industrial cities in the Midwest, but relatively few written by people who actually live in them, and few so heartfelt and unsparing. Rust is at once a unique memoir and a broad indictment of America's broken promise that anyone who came of age in the 21st century will find painfully familiar." - Sarah Kendzior, New York Times bestselling author of The View from Flyover Country

"Eliese Colette Goldbach arrives in the nick of time, a fresh voice to revive an old, substantial truth: that one person's hard work, achieved despite troubles of heart and finance, of faith and family, is the most enduring American value of all. Rust is a memoir of steel and grit, yes, but soul above all, a young Cleveland millworker's eloquent tale of hard times that plants its boots squarely on the bookshelf of American working-class literature." - David Giffels, author of Barnstorming Ohio: To Understand America and The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt

This information about Rust shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Eliese Colette Goldbach

Eliese Colette Goldbach was a steelworker at ArcelorMittal Cleveland. She received an M.F.A. in nonfiction from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program. Her writing has appeared in PloughsharesWestern Humanities ReviewAlaska Quarterly ReviewMcSweeney's Internet Tendency, and The Best American Essays 2017. She received the Ploughshares Emerging Writer's Award and a Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant from the Ohioana Library Association, which is given to a young Ohio writer of promise. She now works at John Carroll University and lives in Cleveland with her husband.

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