Philipp Meyer

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Philipp Meyer
Philipp-Meyer-2017-cropped.jpg
Born January 5, 1974 (age 42)
New York City[1]
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Period 2006–present
Website
www.philippmeyer.net

Philipp Meyer (born January 5, 1974) is an American fiction writer, and is the author of the novels American Rust and The Son, as well as short stories published in The New Yorker and other places. Meyer also created and produced the AMC television show (also called The Son) based on his novel [2]. Meyer is the recipient of a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship[3] and was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize. [4] He grew up in Hampden, Baltimore. His mother is an artist; his father is an electrician turned college biology instructor (Meyer describes them as "counterculture, bohemian intellectuals".[5]).

Meyer considers his literary influences to be "the modernists, basically Woolf, Faulkner, Joyce, Hemingway, Welty, etc."[6] Various outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, and the UK's Telegraph have compared his writing to William Faulkner [7], Ernest Hemingway, [8], Cormac McCarthy [9], and J.D. Salinger [10].

Education[edit]

Meyer attended the Baltimore City Public Schools system, including Baltimore City College High School, until dropping out at age 16 and getting a GED. He spent the next five years working as a bicycle mechanic and occasionally volunteering at Baltimore's Shock Trauma Center.

At age 20, while taking college classes in Baltimore, Meyer decided to become a writer. He also decided to leave his hometown and at 22, after several attempts at applying to elite colleges, was admitted to Cornell University. Cornell was a hugely positive experience for Meyer, who reflected that “All of the sudden I wasn’t alone."[11] During his time at Cornell, Meyer wrote a 600-page novel that was never published, later dismissing it as "self-indulgent undergrad nonsense"[12]. Meyer graduated from Cornell with a degree in English and many years later received an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas.

Career[edit]

After Cornell, Meyer worked for the Swiss investment bank UBS as a derivatives trader. He describes his experience there as "soul crushing".[11]

After several years at UBS, decided to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. He wrote a novel that he could not get published, a book he has called "an apprentice-level work". Meyer took jobs as an emergency medical technician and construction worker, and was preparing for a long-term career as a paramedic when, in 2005, he received a fellowship at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas, where he wrote the majority of American Rust. Random House bought American Rust at the end of 2008.[11] During his time at the Michener Center, Meyer met fellow writer Kevin Powers, who later wrote the 2012 Iraq War novel The Yellow Birds.

In 2010, Meyer was named to The New Yorker's "20 under 40", its decennial list of 20 promising writers under the age of 40.[13]

In 2012, Meyer finished work on his novel The Son, and began developing it as a TV show, along with Michener Fellows Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman. After four years of development, AMC picked up the The Son as a television series starring Pierce Brosnan, with Meyer, McGreevy, and Shipman as creators and executive producers. The three of them did much of the writing on the television show.

American Rust[edit]

The bulk of American Rust was written during Meyer's time at the Michener Center (2005–2008). In December 2007 the novel was acquired by Spiegel & Grau, a Random House imprint. American Rust was eventually acquired by publishers in 23 countries and translated into 17 languages. It is a third person, stream-of-consciousness narrative influenced, according to Meyer, by writers such as James Joyce, William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, and James Kelman[14].

American Rust was a winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (2009). Reviewers in the UK's The Daily Telegraph[15], The Plain Dealer[16] in Cleveland, and Dayton Daily News[17] have suggested it fits the category of "Great American Novel".

The Son[edit]

Toward the end of composing American Rust, Meyer sought to find another subject through which he could explore what he felt was the "creation myth of America".[18]

Meyer's original vision for The Son was quite different from the final novel; it originally featured "six or seven characters”, was "set in the present day", and "was conceived [...] as a book about the rise of a family dynasty and America’s relationship with war and violence."[5] After two and a half years working on this version, Meyer realized that "these characters were talking about this legendary guy, and they were commenting on the American myth, in a way. And finally [...] it finally hit me that ... I needed the legendary character [Eli McCullough] in the book."[5]

The inspiration for the revised novel grew out of recalling his time studying for his MFA at the University of Texas, during which Meyer became familiar with the so-called "Bandit War" of 1915–1918.[19] He saw the potential for a novel concerning the Bandit Wars and the "creation myth of Texas"[18] to explore broader historical issues about the development of America as a whole. After American Rust's publication, Meyer began to research Texas history more closely. Meyer has estimated that he read 350 or so books about the history of Texas and diverse topics from captivity narratives to guides on bird tracks[18] in the course of his composition of the novel.[19] To gather historically accurate material for the book, Meyer learned how to tan deer hides, taught himself how to hunt with a bow, spent a month with military contractor Blackwater for firearms training, and shot a buffalo at a ranch so he could drink its blood - giving him a reference point for Comanche rituals.[12][18]

With The Son, Meyer sought to write "[...] a modernist take on the American creation myth. I didn't want the characters to be mythological figures, the way they're presented to us as kids in movies and in some books."[19] The writing took five years.[6][12][20]

The Son was published in May 2013.[21] It was described in press releases as "an epic of Texas",[22] with the plot concerning "three generations of a Texas family: Eli, his son Pete and Pete’s granddaughter Jeanne. Each face their own challenges—Comanche raiders, border wars and a changing civilization, respectively."[23] Meyer has described the novel-in-progress as "[a] partly historical novel about the rise of an oil and ranching dynasty in Texas, tracing the family from the earliest days of white settlement, fifty years of open warfare with the Comanche, the end of the frontier and the rise of the cattle industry, and transitioning into the modern (oil) age. The rise of Texas as a power pretty closely parallels America's rise to global power, for obvious reasons. And I wanted to write about the parts of America that are growing, rather than declining."[24]

Meyer has said that he has conceived The Son to be the second part of a trilogy of novels that began with American Rust.[24]

The Son was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction[25] and won the Lucien Barrière Prize in France as well as the Prix Littérature-Monde in France. It was also long listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Actor Sam Neill was originally set to star in the series of the same name,[26] until sometime later he was dropped out and was replaced with Pierce Brosnan in the titular role.[27]

Bibliography[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • American Rust (2009)
  • The Son (2013)

Short stories[edit]

  • "You Are Right Here" Texas Observer Spring Books Issue, March 2011
  • "What You Do Out Here, When You're Alone" The New Yorker, June 2010
  • "Mother" Esquire UK, August 2009
  • "The Wolf” The Iowa Review, Summer 2006
  • “One Day This Will All Be Yours” McSweeney’s Issue 18, Winter/Spring 2006

Awards and recognition[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jennifer L. Knox (14 June 2010). "Philipp Meyer". The New Yorker. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  2. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/29/arts/television/in-amcs-western-the-son-the-novelist-philipp-meyer-lassoes-tv.html?_r=0
  3. ^ a b John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Site "Philipp Meyer Bio"
  4. ^ http://www.pulitzer.org/finalists/philipp-meyer
  5. ^ a b c "A roundabout road to literary success for Austin’s Philipp Meyer". mystatesman.com. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Deep in the Heart of Texas: Philipp Meyer on the 'The Son'". omnivoracious.com. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  7. ^ http://www.wsj.com/video/is-philipp-meyer-the-next-william-faulkner/DA7561E9-72E2-465D-92E1-9CD0A2C0511A.html
  8. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/24/AR2009022403636.html
  9. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/fictionreviews/10176574/The-Son-by-Philipp-Meyer-review.html
  10. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/27/books/27book.html
  11. ^ a b c "Hog Hunting With Texas's Next Literary Giant". Texas Monthly. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c Alexandra Alter (23 May 2013). "Philipp Meyer: An Obsessed Novelist's Extreme Research". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  13. ^ Alison Flood. "New Yorker unveils '20 under 40' young writers list". the Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  14. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/31/books/review/philipp-meyer-by-the-book.html
  15. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookreviews/5361130/American-Rust-By-Philipp-Meyer-review.html
  16. ^ http://www.cleveland.com/books/index.ssf/2009/03/is_american_rust_the_new_great.html
  17. ^ http://www.mydaytondailynews.com/entertainment/how-can-philipp-meyer-top-american-rust/SV1sierTtbU2YWMLMBxUfO/
  18. ^ a b c d "How author Philipp Meyer fell in love with Texas". dallasnews.com. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c "Philipp Meyer on The Son". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "Book review: ‘The Son,’ by Philipp Meyer". dallasnews.com. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  21. ^ "The Son: Amazon.co.uk: Philipp Meyer: 9780857209429: Books". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  22. ^ Emily Witt. "Stake Through the Heart: A Bad Breakup for Philipp Meyer and Esther Newberg". Observer. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  23. ^ "Philipp Meyer's #2 goes to Ecco". BookPage.com. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  24. ^ a b "Philipp Meyer". full-stop.net. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  25. ^ a b "The Pulitzer Prizes - Citation". pulitzer.org. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  26. ^ "am Neill to Star in AMC Drama ‘The Son’". Variety.com. Retrieved 11 March 2016.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  27. ^ "Pierce Brosnan To Star In AMC Series ‘The Son’ In TV Return, Replaces Sam Neill". Deadline.com. 6 June 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  28. ^ New Yorker "20 Under 40: Q & A Philipp Meyer" June 14, 2010

External links[edit]