I’m reading the BEST NEW BOOK!
American Rust is a fence-sitter.Â It walks this wonderful middle ground between so many things.Â It’s literary, but fast-paced and action packed. It’s “gritty” and “American” but also hyper-intelligent and totally self-aware.Â It’s in dialogue with the American literary “tradition” (esp Hemingway and Steinbeck) but it’s also absolutely contemporary.
To be blunt, it’s awesome!
Basic story: two oddly-matched friendsÂ (one all body and the other all brain) who wish their lives were different (college, money, family,Â etc) in rust-bowl Americana-land (i.e. Pennsylvania steel town) KILL a dude while attempting to change their lives,Â then find their lives changed.Â It’s about “who we are” and how we become other.Â It’s about class and education and nature/nurture and roots and messed up families.Â It’s about a lot more, I’m sure, but I can’t write a real review until I’m done.
This book feeds the smarty-pants-writer part of me, but also the Springsteen-listening, child-of-a-socialist, Baltimore-bred, pretensions of a gal who once hooked up with a guy hopping freights through Tennessee. I adore it.
I’m not finished it yet so I suppose it could take a nose dive and the end could suck, but even so..Â GO GET A COPY!
Full discosure.Â The author, Philipp Meyer, is someone I have known since kindergarten.Â But in my defense, I am blessed to know a LOT of writers who write a LOT of books.Â And I don’t usually gush like this.
Plus, when we were five, I thought he was kind of an ass.