Set in a beautiful but dying Pennsylvania steel town, American Rust is a novel of the lost American dream and the desperation that arises from its loss. 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, abandoned homes, and the polluted river. Isaac is the smartest kid in town, left behind to care for his sick father after his mother commits suicide and his sister Lee moves away. Now Isaac wants out too. Not even his best friend, Billy Poe, can stand in his way: broad-shouldered Billy, always ready for a fight, still living in his mother's trailer. Then, on the very day of Isaac's leaving, something happens that changes the friends' fates and tests the loyalties of their friendship and those of their lovers, families, and the town itself. Evoking John Steinbeck's novels of restless lives during the Great Depression, American Rust is an extraordinarily moving novel about the bleak realities that battle our desire for transcendence, and the power of love and friendship to redeem us.
'In Philipp Meyer a new American master is born. A tender chronicle of a civilisation's corrosion, yet always watchful for something in the human soul that remains untarnished, 'American Rust' is a beautiful, bleak and ultimately redemptive masterpiece. The best book to come out of America since 'The Road' - Chris Cleave, author of THE OTHER HAND/LITTLE BEE
'Meyer wryly acknowledges the literary tradition in which tales like this are often told... and in doing so, avoids its pitfalls. Instead, he gives us a powerful insight in to the lives of America's dispossessed, without patronising the people he writes about: they are victims of their circumstances, but not lameless caricatures. He has fine-tuned the nuances of their voices, from the intensity of Isaac's rapid-fire thoughts, to the circular, defeated thought pattern of Poe's mother, Grace, and the plot is captivating without ever straying into the realm of folksy page-turner.' - Observer
'A fine achievement... moving between the panoramic and the personal with engaging confidence' - Sunday Times