Today, in one of the publishing blogs/newsletters I subscribe to, I saw a familiar book title. As a matter of fact, I was looking at the very book on my shelf just last night as I was editing "Crawl." The book is 'American Rust' by Philipp Myer and it is up for The Center for Fiction's first novel award. You can check out the other finalists here:
Now Myer's book is the only one I've read out of the finalists, but I can remember the story clearly. More specifically, his characters which really jumped off of the page. This is a case of judging a book by its cover, since the rusty railroad spike on a bleak background grabbed my attention in the bookstore. I remember picking it up and reading the jacket, discovering it was a debut novel with a story based in the very section of the country that I call home.
Even then, I put the book back on the shelf, walked away and came back to look at it again multiple times. I don't think I bought it that first visit, but rather saw it on a subsequent trip and decided to give it a chance. The cover and the setting intrigued me, and that was enough to warrant a read.
As I said earlier, the characters were very fleshed out in multiple dimensions and I can still recall each of their personalities (even if their names escape me.) All in all it was an enjoyable read, though personally I felt it had an "Edgar Sawtelle" feel without as much depth or layering. Not being a literary critic or scholar myself, I'm sure I missed out on something along the way.
Either way, Philipp Myer's 'American Rust' is a worthy finalist for this prize! Check it out at your local bookstore!