Monday, March 9, 2020
Sean Doolittle on Rut by Scott Phillips
A great example for me is Rut, published in 2011 by Concord Press. I’ve thought back to this book many times since I first read it nearly a decade ago. All I specifically remembered about the story was how much I enjoyed reading it, how much I admired the craft of it, and, like all of Scott’s books I’ve read, the indelible feel of it. Warped, gritty, futuristic mountain west realism with a hint of depravity... that is a very specific vibe, man. And it felt just exactly that way when I reread it for this post, too. Even better: the characters sprang immediately back, the way memories of real people do. People you always remember, even after you’ve forgotten them.
A lot of that is purely because of the great writing. But a lot of what makes the writing so great, in my opinion, is the singular Scott Phillipsness of it all. The narrative voice is a perfectly modulated blend of bygone formality and modern vulgarity, sprinkled all over with detail that feels fresh, unexpected, yet utterly authentic. What a beguiling mix.
If you haven’t visited Gower, the busted ski town at the center of Rut’s climate-changed dystopia, I whole-heartedly encourage you to do so. Spend some time with the residents of this once-glamorous, long-blighted community, as mangled and mutated yet thriving in their way as the wildlife around the local toxic sludge pit, and see if you don’t recognize a few people you already know.
your favorite local bookstore through Indie Bound or from
Subterranean Books (they'll have signed editions)
Barnes & Noble
Kill Monster. He lives in western Iowa with his family. Keep up with Sean at his website and follow him on Twitter @seandoolittle.