(Download E-pub) å American Rust ⚞ eBook or E-pub free

When I worked in France I covered a lot of industrial disputes, as you can imagine Renault would try and close a factory, and suddenly the whole country was out on strike I found it incredible when I first arrived Surely, I said to colleagues, someone running a company has the right to decide whether or not to keep one of their factories open They looked at me like I was insane They didn t see the issue in those terms at all for them, it was about a world with a colossal wealth gap where businessmen who make millions a day can put hundreds of people out of work just to increase their margins.For American colleagues who on top of all that were also getting their heads around European healthcare , it was sometimes quite a paradigm shift And whatever happened to unionism in the States, anyway I guess the decline in manufacturing put an end to a lot of it, but it s hard to avoid the feeling that there s something on the level of the national psyche going on, too The steel working towns in southwestern Pennsylvania that form the subject and the setting for American Rust are a case in point thousands of people laid off in a very short space of time, an entire region sent into acute decline the kind of mass shutdown that you d expect would generate a near revolution, at least within local communities.But there had never been any revolution, not anything close, a hundred and fifty thousand people lost their jobs but they had all gone quietly It was obvious there were people responsible, there were living breathing men who d made those decisions to put the entire Valley out of work, they had vacation homes in Aspen, they sent their kids to Yale, their portfolios went up when the mills shut down There was something particularly American about it blaming yourself for bad luck that resistance to seeing your life as affected by social forces, a tendency to attribute larger problems to individual behavior The ugly reverse of the American Dream In France, she thought, they would have shut down the country.They would, too The landscape of American industrial decline is described with awesome power in this book, and its effects on people s choices and decisions are explored relentlessly and without sentimentality It must have seemed especially timely when it was released in 2009 even now, it feels like an important way of putting some flesh on the bones of all the newspaper stories about economic uncertainty Most impressive particularly for a first novel is that the characters are not dropped into this environment cold, but rather seem to have grown out of it organically the school football star now vegetating in a doublewide, the smart kid forced to stay because his father was injured in an industrial accident, the girl who escaped guiltily to Yale in an attempt to avoid the fate of all her small town friends Do a boy once in school, know it s a mistake but five years later there s no one else and the bar is closing so you do it again Ten years later you re married to him In Trish s fine review, she mentions that this is the sort of book that should get men reading novels, and I can see something in that it does feel like quite a male book Not the laddishness of a Nick Hornby, or the horny intellectual stance of a Philip Roth, but rather a kind of blue collar gruffness, conveyed through an admirably curt and colloquial prose style Some critics have complained about this prose, rather prissily I feel, objecting to the many comma splices and other run ons and occasionally, it must be said, the effect becomes a little staccato and intrusive Poe was asleep, the warm air blowing on them, the faint light from the dashboard, she ran her hands across his legs, her fingers through the hair between them, then she touched the car window, the cold glass, outside it was very cold.But on the whole I thought it worked extremely well Meyer is able to compress a huge amount of information and personality into some very brief internal dialogues, like a kind of stream of consciousness Cormac McCarthy straight away when I began the book I found myself admiring this little sketch in the opening paragraph Late morning and he walked quickly through the woods toward town a small thin figure with a backpack, trying hard to keep out of sight He d taken four thousand dollars from the old man s desk Stolen, he corrected himself The nuthouse prison break Anyone sees you and it s Silas get the dogs.That s just lovely In general this is a book that feels well edited, well refined although I still suspect it would be better if it were a little shorter And it s certainly not problem free I found the characters motivations hard to believe a lot of the time, and the opening dramatic confrontation, on which the remainder of the novel rests, never quite rang true to me But the book still works, because the characters and the environment feel absolutely real, even in their technical passages The descriptions of prison are the most gritty and naturalistic I can remember reading Although you can feel the whole thing building to a nasty climax, the tragedy is not rooted in narrative melodrama but in economic reality it wasn t just that we lost all those jobs, it was that people didn t have anything to be good at any There s only so good you can be about pushing a mop or emptying a bedpan We re trending backwards as a nation, probably for the first time in history, and it s not the kids with the green hair and the bones through their noses The real problem is that the average citizen does not have a job he can be good at You lose that, you lose the country The French are getting their placards ready they know exactly what s coming And to those prominent voices in the US who still believe that success depends only on working hard and saying your prayers, this novel is likely to do to illustrate the counterargument than a hundred news reports ever will. Philipp Meyer s American Rust is one of the finest first novels I ve read in the last several years, and a novel that many writers regardless of their experience would give their eye teeth or left nut to have written The novel follows the odd couple of Billy Poe and Isaac English from an act of brutal if needful violence to the furies of internal and external justice have exacted their balancing pound of flesh Poe, is a behemoth, a former football star, a bit of a dunderhead with a short fuse Isaac is a small, frail kid with Ivy League ambitions and the SAT scores to get him there Both of them are firmly mired in a rut as the novel begins Poe is a few years past his football glories and past the point where recruiters will probably return his calls any Isaac s dreams might not be as close to the expiration date but he is stuck with a chronically ill dad, in the rust belt, in the rotting carcass town of Buell, PA he s turning desperate, like a rat in a maze and Meyer makes that horrid feeling of good dreams turned sour as bile heavy, palpable and real The violence that plays out through the novel is nasty and true Meyer gets how a life trajectory can change in the blink of an eye, with one hasty if needful action You can work your ass off all your life and still end up in the shitter, in a dead end relationship that is all loins and no love, in an occupation that kills the soul with its monotony but keeps a roof over your head and bread maybe crusts only in your kid s mouth Though American Rust primary duo are fully realized, wonderful characters, Meyer illustrates these hard truths of working class life in early 21st Century America best through Poe s mom, Grace She is the most amazing creation in the book Butting up against middle age, she is still a fine looking woman with twice the backbone of the males in her life, working long hours as a seamstress and soul sick with worry for her wayward son Life has turned Grace a realist, but still she dreams of escape, through a return to college, through a good man, through a better fate for her son, Poe When Poe s life goes off the track , and Grace feels obligated to renew a relationship with the local sheriff, it s a wonderfully primal yet sophisticated mother love on display, true and harrowing and touching And Meyer is skilled enough to have the relationship between Grace and the sheriff not rooted only in pragmatism and the instinct towards survival of a family, but also in tenderness and true sensual companionship Meyer gets that humans are complicated beasts and we never undertake any action purely through one motivation, so the breadth of the span between saving your soul and throwing your life utterly away is a fine one indeed And Meyer s work is full of that, small bits of folk wisdom brushing up against crime thriller conventions Rust belt noir as tough as the steel workers that once graced Buell, but full of legitimate emotion that gets you blinking back the tears as you follow the characters through the novel American Rust is a fine edition to the small canon of recent American fiction that gets to the kernel of violence in the American Soul and the almost limitless compassion that brushes up right against it. awwww poor boook i am only feeling three stars here but i am giving it four because the other reviews are so unfair not the one that says there has been no good fiction published this century that one is so much laughable curmudgeonly elitist bullshit i can t even acknowledge it but it s not a bad book as far as the confusing narration who is speeeeaking hint the chapter names are the names of the narrators so no great mystery there the run ons and lack of punctuation it s mostly internal thoughts of characters with varying degrees of intellect insight, so there s bound to be some diversion from textbook grammar frankly, i didn t even notice, and usually that sort of thing stands right out to me guess i was enjoying the plot too much to nitpick the punctuation it s good it is shades of russell banks and richard russo and all the frustration about being trapped in a dying town that makes steinbeck so charmingly bleak and the solo man on a hopeless quest theme that brightens cormac mccarthy s pages and if tom i don t read books written by people under forty fuller liked it, who the hell can say anything else tom fuller, kids, smartest man i know.come to my blog Phillip Meyer s The Son is one of the best books I ve ever read It s a multi generational epic about the undulating fortunes of a Texas oil family that beautifully explores the dimensions and consequences of America s westward expansion It manages to operate as both a pointed deconstruction of historical mythmaking while also being devastatingly entertaining It has taken me awhile, but I have finally circled back to American Rust, Meyer s debut novel American Rust takes place in contemporary, post Great Recession Pennsylvania Yet, like The Son, it uses a familiar narrative trope in this case, the timeless a man goes on a journey to critique American exceptionalism American Rust is a forensically detailed journey through the detritus of the American Dream The two main characters are Isaac English and Billy Poe Isaac is a brilliant underachiever who is caught in the rural town of Buell, Pennsylvania a fictional place, modeled after Any Post Industrial City, USA His sister, Lee, has gone off to Yale and married a rich husband, leaving Isaac to care for his ailing, widower father, Henry Living in a financial hell scape, Isaac determines do follow the route of any good Steinbeckian character he sets off on foot for California Before leaving, he gets his friend Billy to tag along for part of the trip Billy is a former big man on campus, a high school football star and lady s man who never took the next step He is held back by his own limited vision, and a history of violence Isaac and Billy don t get far before an event takes place That s all I can say Something happens and the story spins out from there Meyer s tells this story from the third person limited perspective He uses alternating viewpoint chapters that capture the perspectives of a half dozen characters, including Isaac, Billy, and Lee Billy s long suffering mother, Grace police chief Bud Harris, who is involved with Grace and looks out for Billy and Henry English, a former factory worker reduced to a wheelchair Fans of George R.R Martin s A Song of Ice and Fire will recognize this storytelling style Fans of George R.R Martin might not recognize how an author is able to start a story, and then finish it Each of the chapters are written in a kind of stream of conscious style that captures the varied dimensions of each person It s a literary conceit, to be sure, but Meyer s keeps it readable This isn t the kind of book where you need to unpack every sentence to figure out what just happened Meyer s has a very particular knack for capturing the distinct personalities of each of his creations You know you ve captured a fictional person when you the reader can both root for a character, dislike a character, and change your mind about a character several times, all in the span of 367 pages.The plot of which I will not speak in detail is engaging and fast moving It is, in fact, so engaging and fast moving that you probably won t stop to think too deeply about some nagging plot holes and questionable logic I was reading so fast at the end that I didn t have time to do anything except turn the page To be sure, American Rust is not a perfect novel It is flawed Overall, however, it achieves all its ends It is executed with such supreme skill that minor hiccups are easily ignored As a personal note, I read two thirds of American Rust while attending a seminar so boring that I d fall asleep if I tried explaining it to you Everyone I was with thought it was terrible I thought it was great Didn t hear a damn word of it My only complaint was that it didn t last quite long enough for me to finish the book Plot and character aside, the great achievement of American Rust is in its setting Meyer s Pennsylvania is an economically devastated wasteland of dying towns and shuttered factories All the jobs have gone overseas and the once thriving middle class has disappeared Drugs have replaced wages Vagrants ride the rails like in Depression days of yore The woods and back roads are populated by the dispersed and desperate A stranger walking into town gets the cross eye from law enforcement Meyer s is incredibly effective at creating an atmosphere His capitalist moonscape reminded me of nothing less than Cormac McCarthy s apocalyptic vision in The Road The Great Recession was a moment of historical impact Millions of jobs were lost that will never be recovered The very roadmap of American life was torn up, thrown in a metal can, and lit on fire It is a big deal It is a seismic thing And yet the world just keeps spinning without any real accounting The rich stay rich it s no one s fault and let s move on And just over the horizon Robots This is one of the few articles of popular culture that engages the subject head on One of the most interesting things about the mega popular thriller Gone Girl is how it tried to tackle the consequences of the Great Recession, with powerful scenes set in an abandoned mall and a deserted subdivision Yet all anyone cared about was that halftime twist So much for dealing with our issues American Rust isn t just critiquing our self conceptions, it is dramatizing a new reality Something has gone terribly wrong here, and for some reason, only a New York City developer and a self described socialist from Vermont have tapped into a pulsing vein of resentment that has existed for awhile but been studiously ignored You don t have to buy into political demagoguery to acknowledge that a huge swath of people who had been dutifully following the Way are getting left behind Have, in fact, already been left in the rearview No one in American Rust is real Yet it feels like Meyer is speaking for actual people whose voices have gone long unheard He is the Chorus for a vanishing species the blue collar American Middle Class. In American Rust, Philipp Meyer s debut novel, the steel mill in the fictional town of Buell, Pennsylvania closed in 1987 and was partially dismantled ten years later Now the mill stands like an ancient ruin that is being taken over by vines and other vegetation The only visitors are coyotes and deer and an occasional human squatter Buell was a place that had recently been well off, its downtown full of historic stone buildings, mostly boarded now What is true of Buell is also true of other steel mill towns located in the Mon Valley For a hundred years the Valley had been the center of steel production in the country, in the entire world, technically, but globalization and automation, along with outsourcing and offshoring, have taken its toll and in the last two decades the area has lost 150,000 jobs and most of the towns could no longer afford basic services many no longer had any police One character, a former police chief and current justice of the peace, says that it wasn t just that we lost all those jobs, it was because people didn t have anything to be good at any.We re trending backwards as a nation, probably for the first time in our history, and it s not the kids with the green hair and the bones through their noses Personally I don t care for it, but those things are inevitable The real problem is the average citizen does not have a job he can be good at You lose that, you lose the country Now the Valley is primarily the home of retirees who have no choice but to stay and the young who haven t acquired the courage to leave Two of the young people are odd couple friends, Isaac English and Billy Poe Isaac English and his older sister were the two smartest kids in town, the whole Valley, probably the sister had gone to Yale A rising tide, Isaac had hoped, that might lift him as well But at age twenty, and two years out of high school, and despite an IQ of 167, Isaac still lives in Buell He is one who wants to leave but remains to care for his father, who is an invalid as the result of a steel mill accident.The whole town thought Billy would go to college to keep playing foot ball but two years later here he was living in his mother s trailer, a double wide that sat at the top of a dirt road on a large tract of woodland Billy turned down a scholarship to Colgate because, unlike Isaac, he can t understand why anyone would ever want to leave Buell He thinks this despite the fact that he is unemployed after recently being laid off from a minimum wage job.The world spins out of control for the two friends when, in the early stages of Isaac s attempt to finally break away and head West to attend college, he and Billy become involved in a killing Is it murder or self defense The tragic event and its repercussions overwhelm the two young men and devastate them and their families.Philipp Meyer s second novel, The Son, which has received almost universal acclaim from critics, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize The critics also liked American Rust, but readers have been decidedly mixed in their reaction to it A lot of them like it and a lot of them hate it.Here are three primary complaints about the book 1 there are six alternating narrators 2 they engage in stream of consciousness thought and 3 there is an open ended conclusion that leaves many of the novel s conflicts unresolved and its questions unanswered.I thought Meyer was able to juggle his narrators effectively, so I didn t find that to be a distraction I can t speak for others, but I rarely think in paragraphs, or even complete sentences In fact, there isn t a lot of punctuation in my thoughts Therefore, I thought his usage of stream of consciousness helped me better understand his characters and their motivations And let s face it, if life is anything, it is open ended and many conflicts do remain unresolved and many questions are never answered American Rust is a social protest novel that harkens back to the 30 s and writers such as John Steinbeck and others who championed working people and protested the economic dislocation of the day Meyer s depiction of the economic decline that has devastated the Pennsylvania steel industry reminds me of what Richard Russo has written about similar decline in his area of upstate New York And if one took Meyer s characters and placed them in Mississippi, they would be very similar to characters created by the late Larry Brown.Critics have compared Meyer to Cormac McCarthy, Ernest Hemingway, and Dennis LeHane I even saw a headline which asked Is Philipp Meyer the next William Faulkner And that was before The Son But the answer is no, of course not, there will only be one Faulkner But that s certainly high praise for a debut novel and could have been the kiss of death However, Meyer did not fall prey to the sopho jinx The Son has been even better received than American Rust. I have been living in Pittsburgh for over seven years and in that time I have often visited the Mon River Valley south of the city of champions Towns such as Monessen, Donora, New Eagle, Brownsville, Bell Vernon and others make up the Mon River Valley, They are towns nestled between the muddy brown Monongahela River and inspiring hillsides, each town has its own unique charm and the region is the setting of Philip Meyer s American Rust Meyer s describes the valley strikingly well, I got a thrill recognizing towns ,landmarks and the layout of the land, it s a wonder why books don t take place in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Michael Carbon s Wonder Boys takes place in Pittsburgh and surrounding area, I got the same holy crap I have been there feeling in both books As for the story of American Rust, let s see it s got a thriller s pacing, is told tough multiple perspectives that are like getting in the characters heads , you feel their moral dilemmas and how they make sense of the world around them While American Rust is about broken dreams, in towns with once glorious times their inhabitants getting by on hard times, the center is about friendship and its power in horrible situations Two best friends, Isaac and Poe, get mixed up in an act of violence in which their friendship is tested American Rust is haunting, a realistic modern American drama that seems fresh and feels right for the current post 2008 recession we live in.I have to get this of my chest, a lot of reviews say American Rust is unreadable at times, I didn t find it unreadable at all, am i crazy or something I have a theroy but don t feel like getting in to it, we all are different kinds of readers. This style of prose worked for me A flowing of the consciousness of six people dealing with the aftermath of an early, explosive plot bomb These people exist against a backdrop of the declining steel industry with its attendant pathos and hopelessness The human toil of corporate decisions, and loss of labor power, contributes to the tragedy that shrouds the otherwise breathtakingly beautiful Pennsylvania Two young men, very different yet shoring up after high school and coping in different ways, commit something close to murder Their families are shattered, Isaac s mother s suicide and his father s debilitation from injury and Poe s mother who tries everything to save him, alone from a deadbeat father In part this is a travel story, as Isaac wanders to escape something he can t quite name, yet is a feast of dangerous solitude Poe, the athletic, endures at home, subsisting like a Larry Brown character among the detritus of unemployment of small town America Probably I most appreciated the sheriff, in love with Poe s mother and conflicted about his own motives These are characters of strong bent, doing the right thing most of the time with self doubting courage Meyer is an outstanding storyteller and his characters are some of the deepest and most interesting I ve encountered in fiction His philosophizing, as well as the keen knowledge of manufacturing, physics and literature are all on display, but delivered authentically through the six protagonists The plot is riveting and drives and there s hardly a word wasted in this tight novel It is a friendship story, it is about love, it is about fear, it is about courage, it is about hopelessness and renewal.I m conflicted about my rating, since this is one of the finest novels I ve read and the style and substance fits me to a tee My inclination is to give it four stars, as a first novel and not perfect, but I m just going to have to do the right thing, like its characters, and assign the higher number I ll be reading Meyer s other books, all of them, an indication of how good I think this writer is.From Harris, the sheriff p 212 , from his slightly debauched mentor who has retired and giving him a dose of philosophy along with his warning You should have been here for the seventies, Bud The department was buying new cruisers with Corvette engines maybe every three years And then came the eighties, and then it wasn t just that we lost all those jobs, it was that people didn t have anything to be good at any He shrugged There s only so good you can be about pushing a mop or emptying a bedpan We re trending backwards as a nation, probably for the first time in history, and it s not the kids with the green hair and the bones through their noses Personally I don t care for it, but those things are inevitable The real problem is the average citizen does not have a job he can be good at You lost that, you lose the country And finally, toward the end of Isaac s journey, contemplating ending it all and yet finally understanding his feelings about his own father p 315 Now he is alone, knowing what he did to her, that you don t forgive him Alone, his daughter forgave him so she could leave No I forgive him for that it s the act he puts on Because he has to What his insides must look like Same as what you did to the Swede, part of you will die so as not to understand it Cold, white hollow at your center Kept warm by others or it leaks out into the world What makes a man love honor morals Someone to protect Man alone the rational animal A man alone is a rational animal Strip away what s decent Hang on to your knife Keep on until you re stopped You keep going like this or you can lean here, lean a little farther, hurt for a half second and then nothing I am not afraid of that, he thought It is the unfinished business Leaving plenty of it It is only Poe Only Poe that is not what you thought when he pulled you out of the water I am lucky he thought I am lucky they cannot see me like this Walk then Start walking Alright I will get off this bridge I will get off this bridge I will choose something. 3.5 starsAmerican Rust by Philipp Meyer is set in the fictional town of Buell amid the decaying industrial landscape of Mon Valley Pennsylvania.Isaac English and Billy Poe are best friends both still hanging around the decaying town of Buell and wanting out, Isaac is caring for his sick father while his sister Lee has moved away Billy Poe has missed his chance to become a football star and finds himself attracting the attentions of the law on several occasions Isaac plans his escape and on the day of his leaving town something happens that changes the two friends fates and test the loyalties of their friendship and those of families and loved ones.I really enjoyed this slow paced novel and thought the writing was really good The story is written from the alternating view of the novel s characters and this I really enjoyed as I found the story came through very clearly The characters are totally believable and I found a wonderful sense of time and place in the novel The town s demise after the a downturn in the steel Industry is very relevant to this story and we clearly see how people who once had purpose have lost their livelihoods and their self esteem and at times the novel could border on depressing.After reading this book I would be wary of recommending it to friends as as its one of those books that is not going to be everybody s cup of tea but I enjoyed the read and will look out for other books by Philipp Meyer. (Download E-pub) Õ American Rust ⚟ 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 Arises From Its Loss From Local Bars To Train Yards To Prison, It S 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 HomesLeft 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 When He Finally Sets Out To Leave For Good, Accompanied By His Temperamental Best Friend, They Are Caught Up In A Terrible Act Of Violence That Changes Their Lives ForeverEvoking John Steinbeck S Novels Of Restless Lives During The Great Depression, American Rust Delves Into The Contemporary American Heartland At A Moment Of Profound Unrest And Uncertainty About The Future It S 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 ARC received through the First Reads giveaway program.I found American Rust to be very satisfying It reminded me of Faulkner s writing, except for the part where Faulkner drives me crazy I was also reminded a bit of Empire Falls, as both take place in towns that have fallen on rough times.There is definitely a plot, and it does move forward, but at a slower pace than expected for a story revolving around a murder Meyer takes his time and explores the minds of the characters, which I think was a fantastic choice I think if I was going through what these characters experience, I would be spending a good deal of time in my head Not much time elapses during the course of the novel, which makes sense as thoughts take up most of the pages American Rust is a slice of life in the truest sense you get some feel for the place, but the inner lives of the people involved are what s really important They may not spend much time really noticing their surroundings, as you take a place for granted when you live in it The ending, too, does not resolve all loose ends This is appropriate Life does not always deliver in a neat package.