Set in a beautiful but economically devastated Pennsylvania steel town, American Rust is a novel of the lost American dream and the desperationas well as the acts of friendship, loyalty, and lovethat arise from its loss. From local bars to trainyards 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 Steinbecks 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.
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"[An] unrelentingly downbeat debut ... the novel's weakness [is] a sense that some of the plot mechanics are arbitrary. Still, Meyer has a thrilling eye ... Fans of Cormac McCarthy or Dennis Lehane will find in Meyer an author worth watching." - Publishers Weekly.
"A Pandora's box of debate for book clubs, this novel is an essential purchase for libraries in Pennsylvania and surrounding states and strongly recommended for all other fiction collections." - Library Journal.
"Despite some contrived plot developments, a grimly powerful hybrid: provocative literary fiction crossed with a propulsive thriller." - Kirkus Reviews.
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Philipp Meyer (born 1974) is an American fiction writer, and is the author of the novels American Rust and The Son.
Meyer grew up in a working class neighborhood in Baltimore, the son of an artist and an electrician turned college science instructor. Meyer attended city public schools until dropping out at age 16 and getting a GED. He spent the next five years working as a bicycle mechanic and occasionally volunteering at Baltimore's Shock Trauma Center.
At age 20, he began taking classes at a variety of colleges in Baltimore and decided to become a writer. He also decided to leave his hometown, and at 22, on his third attempt at applying to various Ivy League colleges, he was admitted to Cornell University. He graduated with a degree in English and later worked at the Swiss Investment ...
Philipp Meyer: my-yer
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