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American Rust

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  4,473 ratings  ·  823 reviews
Thedebut novel from the New York Times bestsellingauthor ofThe Son

BONUS: This edition contains a reader's guide.

Set in a beautiful but economically devastated Pennsylvania steel town,American Rustis 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, i
ebook, 368 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by Spiegel & Grau (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”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.”

The other side of that coin is that Americans tend to look at people who have a streak of bad luck as having brought that adversity upon themselves. Maybe they didn’t pray hard enough, or they kicked their dog too many times, or they slept around
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 mo ...more
D. Pow

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
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 thr ...more
3.5 stars

American 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 th
I bought this book as a birthday gift for my husband and ended up reading it myself. This is the kind of book that, two years ago, I would have stayed up all night finishing in one sitting. Now I have a kid, so I had to settle for reading it over the span of a week. One of the minor sacrifices that comes with being a parent.

I had very high expectations for the book after reading only the epigraph, and, ultimately, I wasn't disappointed. My hat is off to Philipp Meyer for writing a book that is s
Maria João Fernandes
"Quantas promessas pode uma pessoa quebrar antes de deixares de a perdoar?"

"Ferrugem Americana" é o primeiro romance de Philipp Meyer e a sua história tem lugar numa pequena cidade da Pensilvânia. Outrora o coração da indústria do aço, Buell tornou-se numa cidade em ruínas. Antigamente fervilhava de vida, mas hoje só tem para oferecer desemprego e pobreza aos seus habitantes. A atmosfera sufocante aliada ao desespero há muito enraizado nas personagens torna o ambiente sombrio e a tensão é palpáv
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
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 ot ...more
A really magnificent first novel. From the opening scenes Meyer created a world where lives hover on a knife's edge of disaster. Poor choices and bad decisions land his characters in nasty situations any of us would have difficulty confronting. Readers have a sense of the big picture only because the author tells his story from many points of view. But he doesn't tell us the future before he is ready and it is with a sense of impending doom that we watch the story unfold to what we fully expect ...more
Why can't the crop of young American writers learn to write properly constructed literature? Fyodor Dostoevsky's take on the subject, for God's sake. When the sum total of someone's experiential modus operandi has involved cell phones, laptops, iPods, electronic devices, 24/7 cable TV, football half-time shows, virtual carnal knowledge, scanners, bar codes, reality TV, et al., to ad infinitum, then what can one really expect from such a cultural meltdown?

My suggestion to the potential readers o
I gave this book three stars for the literary value. I had trouble with it though, because the gratuitous sex bothered me. I guess, my prudishness can get in the way of books like this.
For a book based on a great reality of our times, I found the characters to be completely unrealistic. The writing, from multiple characters points of view is muddled. How is it that so many people, who apparently don't communicate with one another at all, can have such identical, deeply profound thoughts? They are all thinking the same things about their home and times, yet when they communicate with one another, they aren't talking about anything, they are just cussing and then sleeping togeth ...more
K.D. Absolutely
May 25, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: John Grisham fans
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2010 edition)
Shelves: 1001-non-core
Most Filipinos think that their relatives in the USA are better-off than them. Think again. The economy of the US has not really bottomed out yet. The continuous exodus of their jobs is still happening. Many Americans are losing their jobs because plants are closing down and being transferred to low-cost countries like China, India, Southeast Asian and Eastern Europe countries. Wherever it is cheaper to operate, they go.

That is the backdrop of this novel. The first novel of Philipp Meyer, Americ
Alguma vez vos aconteceu...?

Ouvirem falar de alguém de quem todos gostam. Alguém, cujo encanto nos absorve e apaixona e ao qual ficamos irremediavelmente presos.
De tal forma, que somos tomados de uma vontade irresistível de conhecer essa pessoa e com ela desfrutar das prometidas maravilhas.
Quando, finalmente, a encontramos e ela nos fala, nos conta os seus segredos, as suas histórias, somos tomados pelo desespero. Porque não entendemos, nem nos interessamos pelo que nos conta e porque nos aborre
This is a powerful and profound novel. The back cover blurb of the copy I have has a salutation from the UK Sunday Telegraph that reads: "In racing terms its by Of Mice and Men, out of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ridden by Cormac McCarthy, and trained by Salinger J.D and Jack Kerouac......terrifically impressive". Not bad for a debut novel.

Set in the present in a small Pennsylvania milling town, this is the story of a group of people battling overwhelming economic and social woes. The ov
Depressing but very compelling and intriguing is how i describe Phillip Myers dark tale of two friends Isaac and Billy longing for a better life in an area devastated by the economic meltdown. Along the way they encounter all manner of things including a violent incident that has the ability to destroy all there plans and their lives.

The main themes displayed for me was the sheer bleakness of the environment with towns once thriving now full of closed down factories with decaying facade and bro
This book is wonderfully visceral. The description is very meaty and really makes the setting come alive. What I like most is how Meyer juxtaposes the characters off of each other. The chapters present focuses from alternating characters' points of view, but Meyer doesn't alternate just to present a different take on the events of the novel. Rather, the characters develop in relation to each other. I felt not only the conflicts in the character in dealing with the events that occur, but the conf ...more
The tag for this book talks about beauty, dreams, and inspiration, and it has been compared to Russell Banks' picture of the Great Depression and John Steinbeck's exploration of America. Unfortunately, those descriptors were more lofty and pure than the actual story, so I ended up entering the giveaway of a book for which I probably wasn't the intended audience. I'm sure my rating reflects this, so read the review and interpret it as you will.

My take on the book: The background was a financiall
"American Rust" is set in a small desiccated steel town in current day PA. All the mills have closed down and many people have moved away. The ones who've stayed are working for minimum wage at Wal-Mart, fast food places or at local bars of which there seem to be many. Lots of neighborhoods are ghost towns and native wild animals are starting to take over. Deer wander the streets and are no longer scared of people. Wolves don't hesitate to attack even larger domestic animals, homeless people she ...more
There are a pile of really boneheaded reviews on here about this book. I'm still giving it three stars, but it doesn't deserve to be dragged through the mud just because some people don't understand innovative punctuation usage.

Look, whether you agree with the moral overtones of the book or not, the story is compellingly told and utterly sincere. There is an awful lot of carping on these reviews about the book's supposed atheist overtones, which I admit are pretty strong, but I take that as a st
Probably 4.5 corroded stars. An amazing first novel that spins a web of American despair and desperation set in a degraded rust belt town that is still in the midst of the Fall. It is a novel of hard compromises, silent heros, and people that grind on every day knowing the sun for them will not rise tomorrow. This is a novel that narrates the things we all do to survive in a universe that is slowly growing cold. It is written for and about the people we rely on to survive, those we hurt and the ...more
We get inside the head of a lot of characters in this book. However, despite spending a lot of time inside their head, we rarely get any insight into their decision-making processes, which is unfortunate, since many of the characters make fairly dramatic decisions in the course of the narrative. Also, most of the characters seem somewhat mentally unstable, which is fine, if they're supposed to be, but I don't think they were. So overall it's just a bunch of unpleasant people running around makin ...more
Nancy Oakes
Review coming shortly, but for now I will just say that I loved this book. Absolutely. I seriously don't get why so many people are so negative -- this was beautiful in terms of writing and in terms of the story. But more later.

I also have an extra copy of this book, if anyone would like it. Free to you, US only.
What happens to small Pennsylvania steel town after the steel mill shuts down? How do the people who once had a good life, with security and benefits, cope? American Rust deals with this: the American Dream, and its failure. What’s interesting is that the characters in this book don’t pine for the life that left them behind. Instead, they become resigned, they hope for nothing more. Take this quote, for example.

“He had slept through life, let the currents take him. He had let the currents take h
Terence Hawkins
I'm either the best person to review this book or the worst. The book is set in Fayette County ("Fayette Nam") PA; the chief characters are two friends, Isaac the high school brainiac and Poe the football hero, and Lee, Isaac's sister, who somehow escaped to Yale. As it happens I grew up in Fayette County and made it to New Haven myself.

On the one hand I found Meyer's depiction of the physically beautiful and economically desolate Mon Valley deeply compelling and painfully accurate. On the other

Two young men from a dying Pennsylvania steel mill town are involved in a murder and its aftermath.....their desire to leave a hometown that offers no future...the ties of friendship and family that both strengthen and strangle..guilt and innocence, both in a legal and social sense...intensely times, the characters’ interior monologues seem to go on forever but there is a method to the madness.

i find the comparisons to Steinbeck a bit premature, but i see a lot of potential in Mr.
Kathy (anothergreatetcetera)
When I first heard about this book, I thought it would be the average road trip novel, a glimpse of disillusioning the American Dream and a bit of coming of age for that skinny boy who is on the cover of the edition I bought.
But what I found was very different and surprised me in a very positive way.

American Rust is set in a fictional small town near Pittsburgh called Buell whose economic situation used to depend on the steel mills. But since the steel industry collapsed, the town has been dyi
Meyer's vivid descriptions of the former Pennsylvania steel towns were so accurate I had to check to see if he had actually grown up in western Pennsylvania. HIs comment that the earth is reclaiming some of the land is true. It was so overcast and grimy driving into Pittsburgh in the 1960's. Now you can see the sun. Former mills are turned into office lofts, entertainment centers, or are crumbling and the trees and grasses are covering them.

This novel is mostly about friendship. Isaac Englist w
Jul 11, 2013 Meghan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Steinbeck fans
Recommended to Meghan by: Robbie Bashore
Writing: 5 stars. Comparisons to Steinbeck are well-deserved and justified. Meyer's stark prose works well in Pittsburgh-area, post-steel days. There is an Americana-ness on every page, yet it isn't tchotchkes and gourmet homemade jams. As a reader, you can sense the "realness" and "grittiness" of this hard life. A town gone down hill. Kids going nowhere, learning to dream small and inconsequentially. Adults waking up, wondering where time went? Meyer packs a punch of truthfulness while deftly p ...more
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Philipp Meyer's novel, American Rust, was an Economist Book of the Year, a Washington Post Top Ten Book of 2009, a New York Times Notable Book, A Kansas City Star Top 100 Book of 2009, and an Amazon Top 100 Book of 2009.

Philipp Meyer grew up in Baltimore, dropped out of high school, and got his GED when he was sixteen. After spending several years working as a bike mechanic and volunteering at a t
More about Philipp Meyer...
The Son New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 2007 The United States of McSweeney's: Ten Years of Lucky Mistakes and Accidental Classics The Ecco Summer 2013 Fiction Sampler: Excerpts from Ecco and Amistad's Upcoming Books

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“You ought to be able to grow up in a place and not have to get the hell out of it when you turn eighteen.” 9 likes
“It was like this all up and down the river and many of the young people, the way they accepted their lack of prospects, it was like watching sparks die in the night...He didn't see how the country could survive like this in the long run; a stable society required stable jobs, there wasn't anything more to it than that. ” 3 likes
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