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Rust by Julie Mars

Rust (edition 2012)

by Julie Mars

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3218347,362 (4)3
Authors:Julie Mars
Info:The Permanent Press (2012), Hardcover, 160 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, uncorrected proof

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Rust by Julie Mars



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Rust, by Julie Mars, tells the story of Margaret Shaw, a critically acclaimed artist, who cannot land a show in a prestigious gallery. She begins wondering if she has chosen the right career. After reading a random article about coyotes wandering the streets of Albuquerque, she uses most of her savings earned as a waiter in a bar to move to New Mexico. Thus begins the heroic journey of a confident woman, who suffers from occasional bout of self-doubt.

She has decided to move her art to three dimensions, and, in order to accomplish this, she begins collecting an assortment of rusted machine parts. Her next step involves learning to weld. Rico Garcia, widely known as “El Rey,” because of his skill as a welder among low-rider enthusiasts, agrees to teach Margaret this skill. The two become close friends and sets them on a path of introspection.

Margaret’s parents abandoned her as a young child, and she grew up under the care of her grandfather. Rico’s marriage slowly disintegrates as he tries to figure out why his loving, passionate wife has turned cold. Interspersed among the chapters, Mars describes the life of Vincent. On a trip to India, he has found himself imprisoned for some unspecified drug crime. He begins a journey of his won, which brings him into contact with Margaret and Rico.

Now, my faithful readers might think they know how this novel will turn out, but they would be wrong. Rust is Mars’ fourth novel, and I can assure you, I am already on the hunt for the first three. Her prose shines like the sun in the Southwest desert. Early on, Mars writes,

“On Sunday, Margaret woke up moody. After she had taken her morning shower, for example, she threw her towel to the floor and studied her naked body in the mirror on the back of the bathroom door. This was a sure sign of a coming storm. Whenever she experienced the urge to stand outside herself and technically review her body, which in these moments she tended to equate with her cage, her jail cell, or her hostage closet, she was already in trouble. It meant the restlessness, the discontent, was upon her, and she was trapped in it” (52).

Margaret encounters an entirely new world in Albuquerque, and this world helps her tie up a lot of the loose ends resulting from her unraveling in New York. Julie Mars’ novel, Rust is an interesting and imaginative novel and deserves a look by all serious readers. 5 stars

--Chiron, 11/16/12 ( )
  rmckeown | Nov 16, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Margaret Shaw, a New York bartender/artist, decides to go to Albuquerque and learn the art of welding. There she meets Rico Garcia, a low rider welder of remarkable skill, and after she hires him to teach her welding, a complex friendship develops. Both are in need of healing; Margaret's parents disappeared on a pilgrimage to India while she was young, and Rico's wife inexplicably detached herself from him emotionally and sexually years ago. The two of them draw strength and insight from each other, and both find a resolution of their inner conflicts. This is a strong and satisfying story, with heart and wit and characters who bond with the reader. My only quibble is the nature of Margaret's final resolution regarding her long-missing parents; it stretches credulity. But there is such an undercurrent of mysticism that weaves in and out of the book that it didn't particularly bother me. ( )
  burnit99 | Mar 6, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
ARC Giveaway & Review: You know by now that I’m a sucker for a beautiful book cover and this one was no exception. There’s just so much potential in that gorgeous sky. When I read the publisher’s description for Rust by award-winning author Julie Mars, it touched something in me and knew I wanted to read Rust whether I reviewed it or not. Although I could have reviewed it closer to its release date, I knew it would be the perfect novel to share with you for Valentine’s Day. If you like grown-up stories of love and redemption, stories about the Southwest, or just plain excellent fiction then read on. Read the rest of my review & enter our giveaway at http://popcornreads.com/?p=2910 ( )
  PopcornReads | Feb 14, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Rust is ostensibly the story of how two very different people who meet as teacher and student change each other's lives in unexpected ways, and as such, it's an interesting window into the intersection of lives and cultures.

Julie Mars has a little trouble getting out of her own way, though. She can't resist telling the reader when showing would do as well, so we get drawn-out descriptions of everyone's emotions and how this thing that just happened reminds them of this other thing that happened a long time ago. She's working with multiple close third-person narrators, but they don't have distinct voices, and that's a little jarring to the reader. Mars is also working with a lot of stories - Margaret's artist's journey, Rico's marriage, Rico's family history, Margaret's family history, Margaret's dad's disastrous trip to India, Margaret and Rico's is-it-or-isn't-it-a-romance - and she never seems to settle on which one is most important to the action of the book. They each get equal treatment within the structure of the narrative, including the bafflingly boring subplot of Margaret's dad, which is told in italicized flashbacks interspersed with Margaret and Rico having deep emotions about things. It leaves the reader wondering what the story is really about.

This isn't a bad book, but it's not a great one, either. I had trouble staying involved enough in the story to finish it, in part because of the degree to which Mars doesn't trust the reader to follow along, but instead feels the need to spell out endlessly how the characters feel about everything, instead of showing us how they're living though it. ( )
  upstairsgirl | Jan 31, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Margaret seems to be lost and on a whim chooses to move to New Mexico....she meets Rico and they become friends. Margaret lost her parents at a very young age, never knowing what really happened to them. Fortunately, she had a grandfather who loved her and raised her. Margaret's life seems to be a long, lonely journey.
Good book! ( )
  DeanieG | Jan 20, 2012 |
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An random article in a travel magazine compels talented but socially-isolated artist Margaret Shaw to pack up and move from New York City to New Mexico. She quickly settles into a Chicano/Mexican barrio near the river, spending long days at local junkyards attempting to satisfy another recent obsession, her determination to mover her art from two dimensions to three. As she collects rusty parts from obsolete machinery, she imagines welding them into sculptures, and she never looks back at the sorrowful past she left behind in the east.… (more)

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