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Rust: One woman's story of finding hope across the divide

Eliese Goldbach



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10 March 2020
Biography; Memoirs; Social & cultural history; Social & political philosophy; Industrial relations; Mental health services
When Eliese Goldbach was nine years old, she decided to become a Catholic nun. Twenty years later, with a Master's degree, she found herself making steel in the Rust Belt during the 2016 US election season. A small part of her wondered if she'd got stuck inside a dream that had gone horribly wrong. Trump was supposed to be golfing in Florida, not vying for the presidency. She was supposed to be saving souls, not stirring a vat of molten metal. The trajectory of her life had fallen short of expectations. The trajectory of the USA was going haywire.

Part memoir, part social commentary, framed by Eliese's experiences as a steelworker, RUST is about perspective, and shifting perspective: it's about change. Much of Eliese's life connects the identities that seem to be driving the USA apart, and the parallels with a post-Brexit UK are uncanny. She's a former Republican turned Democrat; a feminist with Christian roots. Anti-abortion - until she herself was subjected to sexual violence - a supporter of the right to choose. She doesn't fit neatly into any one box.

Appealing to readers of HILLBILLY ELEGY and EDUCATED, RUST explores Eliese's transformation from far-right to left-of-centre, detailing her first year as a steelworker, and the path that brought her to the mill in the first place. It is an American tale, but could just as easily be Sunderland, UK, as Cleveland, USA.

Raw and luminous, RUST explores the USA's, and the world's, most pressing issues in an attempt to amplify our understanding of one another across the divide. It's a rally cry to a nation at a crossroads.
By:   Eliese Goldbach
Imprint:   Quercus
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   390g
ISBN:   9781529402803
ISBN 10:   1529402808
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   10 March 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Eliese Goldbach is a steelworker at the ArcelorMittal Cleveland Temper Mill. She received an MFA in nonfiction from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program. Her writing has appeared in Ploughshares, Western Humanities Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and Best American Essays 2017. She received the Ploughshares Emerging Writer's Award and a Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant from the Ohioana Library Association, which is given to a young Ohio writer of promise.

Reviews for Rust: One woman's story of finding hope across the divide

Eliese Collete Goldbach might be the only essayist who does footnotes better than David Foster Wallace * The Pitt News * The steel mill burns on in the heart of Cleveland, and in the pages of Eliese Collette Goldbach's transformative debut. This is indeed a memoir of steel and grit, the extraordinary work of every ordinary day. But like all great stories, Rust is also a love story?about a craft, a city, and the communities we forge there. Goldbach reminds us that what we make in turn makes us who and what we are * Dave Lucas * Rust is a brave, heartfelt memoir whose pages overflow with hard-earned wisdom. Goldbach's story of embodying our national extremes--conservative vs progressive, religious vs secular, white collar vs blue--has endowed her with a singular ability to see through our partisan delusions and identify what, truly, unites us still as Americans. If your heart, like mine, feels poisoned by this era of political division, Rust may just be the antidote for which you've been searching * John Larison * A haunting meditation from the far shores of addiction, mental illness, and obsession * Ladette Randolph * In our whacked-out national moment, Eliese Colette Goldbach arrives in the nick of time, a fresh voice to revive an old, substantial truth: that one person's hard work, achieved despite troubles of heart and finance, of faith and family, is the most enduring American value of all. Rust is a memoir of steel and grit, yes, but soul above all, a young Cleveland millworker's eloquent tale of hard times that plants its boots squarely on the bookshelf of American working-class literature * David Giffels * Goldbach turns in a gritty memoir of working in a steel mill while wrestling with the world beyond.... An affecting, unblinking portrait of working-class life * Kirkus Reviews * Rust is a soulful telling of America's stubborn and forgotten core. Deeply honest and defying easy sentimentality, this book heralds the arrival of a true talent * Adam Chandler * Beautiful * Charlie LeDuff * There have been a lot of books written about life in industrial cities in the Midwest, but relatively few written by people who actually live in them, and few so heartfelt and unsparing. Rust is at once a unique memoir and a broad indictment of America's broken promise that anyone who came of age in the 21st century will find painfully familiar * Sarah Kendzior * Eliese Colette Goldbach uses formal experiment, broken narrative, and a voice that admits doubt and questions the terms of its telling to fight silencing. Masterful form is often a question of well-managed ruptur * Leslie Jamison * A female steelworker's soulful portrait of industrial life. Goldbach's evocative prose paints a Dantean vision of the mill...but she discovers in the plant's quirky, querulous employees an ethic of empathy and solidarity that bridges ideological divides. The result is an insightful and ultimately reassuring take on America's working class * Publisher's Weekly *

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