Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stuck In A RUT

I met Scott Phillips in a bar in Philly. Seriously annoying dude: laidback, cool, generous with his time, all that. And everyone kept raving about how good a writer he was. So I bought one of his books - THE ICE HARVEST - and took it back to the hotel room and gave it ten pages, just to see. Round about 4 am, and halfway through, I finally put it down.
  Woke up the next morning, said, ‘Okay, you’d had a few beers last night, it’s probably not as good as you remember it.’ It was, and better.
  Later that week, at the Baltimore B’con, I bumped into Scott Phillips twice. Both times he was walking around with THE BIG O tucked under his oxter. Nice guy.
  A couple of months later, I read COTTONWOOD. Better than THE ICE HARVEST? Possibly, but we’re dealing in quarks here.
  Anyway, the news that the Concord Free Press is publishing Scott Phillips’ new offering is all kinds of good news. To wit:
RUT, a wild and original novel from Scott Phillips, takes readers to the Rocky Mountains circa 2050, where the once thriving burg of Gower is about to become a 21st-century ghost town. Thanks to extreme weather and plenty of toxic waste, the skiers and celebrities are gone, along with the money and the veneer of civilization. What’s left? Old-time religion and brand-new pharmaceuticals, bad food and warm beer, mutated animals and small-town gossip. Can the town survive? We’ll see.

Part of me would love to live in the near-future world Scott Phillips has imagined in RUT, but only a little part. The rest of me is happy just to read about this, um, direction in which we humans might be headed. Another great novel from one of our best.

  A dystopian novel with a difference, RUT is hilarious and horrifying. Phillips creates a richly imagined world that serves as a funhouse mirror for our own times. It’s filled with an unforgettable cast of spot on original characters who struggle, steal, lie, fight, drink, cheat, and scheme their way to better days. Or China. Or anywhere but Gower. Sly and cool, absurd and archly perceptive, RUT resonates with the best work of Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon, all in a wonderfully weird tale unlike any other.
  A Phillips / Vonnegut / Pynchon mash-up? I WANT IT NOW!
  Incidentally, if you haven’t come across the Concord Free Press before, they’re well worth checking out. The slogan: ‘Free their books and their minds will follow.’ Their mission statement reads thusly:
We publish great books and give them away. All we ask is that you make a voluntary donation to a charity or someone in need. Tell us about it. Then pass your book along so others can give. It’s a new kind of publishing, one based purely on generosity, and it’s changing the way people think about books.
  For the rest, clickety-click here


Scott Phillips said...

You are a gent, sir...the check is in the mail.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

You are killing me with all these good reads.

Scott- I'm looking forward to reading your novels. I guess I'll start with The Ice Harvest. Best of luck man!

David said...

Scott's not just a fabulously nice & generous guy and one of my favorite writers, he also has one of the most deliciously wicked senses of humor of anyone you'll ever meet. next time you share a beer with him, ask him to tell you his tales from Paris.

Ah, Paris . . .

Your eyes will pop.
Your jaw will drop.
And your sides will ache from laughter.

I promise.