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Extended Audio Sample American Rust, by Philipp Meyer Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,211 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Philipp Meyer Narrator: Tom Stechschulte Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Philipp Meyer presents his dramatic debut novel, American Rust—a moving tale of friends in a fading Pennsylvania steel town and the murder that forces them to question their assumptions about each other and those around them. Unfolding at a relentless pace, Meyer’s dark vision of an environment in flux is propelled by characters drawn with keen insight into human pathos. Before the last act is staged, loyalties will be tested as old paradigms shift and a new reality takes hold. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Affecting…Mr. Meyer is not only able to create a richly layered narrative with multiple perspectives, but he’s also able to climb inside his people’s heads and channel their thoughts and feelings…American Rust announces the arrival a gifted new writer—a writer who understands how place and personality and circumstances can converge to create the perfect storm of tragedy.”

    New York Times

  • “This bleak but skillful debut is both affecting and timely…[Meyer’s] rigorously sculpted psychologies and assured sense of place are compelling.”

    New Yorker

  • “Powerful…both plaintive and grand…Meyer grew up in Baltimore, where he dropped out of high school and pursued various careers as an emergency medical technician, a construction worker, and a derivatives trader for a Swiss bank. Along the way, he studied English at Cornell, and most recently he taught writing in Austin, Tex. The variety of those experiences—the intimate knowledge of hard physical labor, high finance, and great literature—informs every page of American Rust.”

    Washington Post

  • “A terrifically impressive dissection of loyalty and honor. It’s a muted hymn in praise of the things we admire in others rather than the stuff we despise.”

    Telegraph (London)

  • “The entropic nature of society in paralysis is stunningly portrayed in a novel rich in scope and ambition.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “A paean to the end of empire…The story crackles with narrative tension…The picture is grim, but masterfully painted.”


  • “Meyer has a thrilling eye for failed dreams and writes uncommonly tense scenes of violence, and in the character of Grace creates a woeful heroine. Fans of Cormac McCarthy or Dennis Lehane will find in Meyer an author worth watching.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Compelling…Tom Stechschulte’s gritty deliver suits the setting well, and he adjusts his tone with surprising agility. The novel shifts between the points of view of several characters, including two women, and Stechschulte’s sublte vocal changes reflect this technique effectively.”


  • “Meyer’s greatest strength as a novelist lies in his poignantly well-rounded characters, particularly Billy’s long-suffering mother, Grace, who repeatedly sacrifices her own prospects for those of her child. A Pandora’s box of debate for book clubs, this novel is an essential purchase.”

    Library Journal

  • A 2009 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize Finalist
  • Selected for the March 2009 Indie Next List
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, February 2009
  • An 2009 Economist Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2009 Washington Post Top 10 Book for Fiction
  • A 2009 Amazon Best Books of the Year
  • Winner of the 2009 Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Prize for First Fiction
  • One of the 2009 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Gail Double | 2/19/2014

    " Didn't get to finish the book because I borrowed it from the library and it expired. Thank goodness I did because so far, I couldn't get into it. I don't know if I"ll be picking it up again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Alan Newman | 2/17/2014

    " This is a grim tale about life in a small town in the steel country of Pennsylviania--the mills have closed, and are rusted shells in the landscape, and the town's inhabitants are long unemployed and hopeless,only rarely able to move upward socially or economically. The story centers on Isaac English, a genius, but trapped into delaying college to care for his ailing father, his friend Poe, football hero turned brawler; his sister Lee who went to Yale and married well; and Poe's mother Grace and her lover, the Sherrif of the county. In many ways this could have been written in the 1930's--it is really a Depression novel, set in an economically depressed area that has been silently deteriorating under our noses since the 1970's. Train hopping hobos, thieves, drunks populate its pages. The writing is excellent, the characters compelling, though they are responsible for making their own lives, and the readers life, miserable (this is not a cheerful read). But it rings true, except for the ending which is a little contrived. Worth a read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Pamela | 2/15/2014

    " 3.5 actually, or maybe even 3.75. A powerful story but very difficult/painful to read. The rust belt (western PA) declines (the whole society declines...), a chance encounter and everything changes -- spins the lives of all the characters out of control -- Poe, Isaac, Grace, Harris, Lee. What will they each do with the new hand they've been dealt? Reads like a Greek tragedy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jean | 2/14/2014

    " This was recommended by the Book Club (of sorts) at Chautauqua and I usually love their recommendation but this year I did not LOVE this one. I thought it was well written and interesting but not earth shatteringly wonderful as were some of their other recommendations ie Someone Knows My Name and In the Garden of the Beasts! It's a good summer read and a character study ...it surprised me in the end which I always like...take a chance and try it. You might like it better than I did. "

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