American Rust by Philipp Meyer w/ Giveaway


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 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 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.


Phillipp Meyer takes up right into the restlessness of the book from the first page, the first sentence even.  We are introduced to Isaac, who’s mom has been dead for five years and he can not stop thinking about her.  He has stayed home, passing on college to take care of his paraplegic father but stirs for something more…   this is the passion that starts American Rust rolling page by page into what was meant to be an adventure and turned into something much more.

Isaac likes to do things, lets say the adventurous way not necessarily the easy way, or in many cases even the right way.  Along with his friend Poe, they find themselves deep into a murder that becomes quite interesting due to twists and turns such as the Police Chief is having an affair with Poe’s mom.  And this is just one example of how the plot of American Rust ripples through the small town.

It took me a while to get into the rhythm in which this book flows.  Phillipp has a way with words and a certain method to his writing that I found at times harsh (the strong language was not a plus for me) and at other times refreshing ( for a first time author, heck for any author, Phillipp really can paint an intriguing picture using words that brought me into the action).

I agree when they say this book evokes the restlessness of John Steinbeck’s novels of restless lives during the depression.  Restless is a great word to use to describe the characters that bring this book to life and I would expect this book to make its way into the Classics of tomorrow.

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,, 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.

Yes – I had mentioned a giveaway!

I have one copy of this book to give away to one person who leaves a comment on this review leaving me the name of your favorite classic read.

Giveaway is open to USA and Canada – ends February 17

That’s it!

This review copy of this book came from TLC Book Tours

The Tour stops for American Rust:

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

46 thoughts on “American Rust by Philipp Meyer w/ Giveaway

  1. Maybe because I grew up in Illinois and love rivers, my favorite classic is Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi. Actually I should read anything by Mark Twain in a soundproof room so no one hears my roars of laughter. Now I live in Pennsylvania which has a rich history I’m gradually learning.

  2. My Favorite Classic Read Is Pride And Prejudice By Jane Austen.

    Great Review, The Book Sounds Really Great And I Would Love To Be Considered For This Giveaway.

  3. Thanks for the great review. It’s hard to choose just one classic….but mine would be a toss-up between The Good Earth and To Kill a Mockingbird.

    I’d love to win this book.

  4. I haven’t really read much about this book, but the setting intrigues me. The town I grew up in here in Indiana had a big steel plant that employed a large number of people. When it went out, it left the city hurting, though not devastated as we had other large employers.

    I don’t know if I have one favorite classic, but I love Jane Austen’s books, Great Expectations, David Copperfield, and everything those above me have mentioned 🙂

  5. OH! My favorite is To Kill a Mockingbird.Loved the book and the movie.
    This book sounds very interesting and I would love to enter :0)
    Thank you!

  6. I really liked Atlas Shrugged…although I read it so long ago, I should pick it up again. I see that To Kill a Mockingbird has been on some list…that’s another one I reall liked.

  7. My favorite classic is Ethan Frome. I’ve read it a few times and get something new out of it every time.

    Interesting review. Restless is a great way to describe the characters in this book (I finished it myself a few nights ago!) Thanks so much for the time you put into reading and reviewing American Rust. It is greatly appreciated!

  8. This one sounds interesting, but I’m not a big fan of either John Steinbeck or harsh language, so not sure if it would be for me.

    Did enjoy your review, and I like seeing everyone’s favorite classics. My favorite would have to be Pride & Prejudice, just because it started me down the road of being a serious book lover.

    Please enter me in the contest and I’ll leave it up to fate if I should read this or not. 🙂

  9. Hmmm. Favorite classic, huh? That’s not an easy one . . . today I pick IVANHOE by Sir Walter Scott. That was a lot of fun.

    Thanks for the chance to read AMERICAN RUST – I’m sure it’s a far cry from IVANHOE!

  10. My favorite classic is “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London. I’ve read it many times and never tire of the story.

  11. My favorite classic reads are REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier and LAST OF THE MOHICANS by James Fenimore Cooper. They both give a special feel of a time and place.

  12. My favorite is Gone With The Wind. This book sounds very interesting. I would love to read it. Please enter me. Thanks!


  13. I would have to say my favorite classic read is anything Steinbeck possibly Cannery Row being my most favorite.

    Thanks for the chance!

    rubymoonstone at gmail dot com

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