Friday, July 22, 2016
FFB: Rash -- Pete Hautman
Summertime is rerun time, USA. This comes from December 21, 2006.
A lot of the best writing around these days is in YA novels. If you don't believe me, read one. Try Nancy Werlin, for example, or Pete Hautman.
Bruce Taylor might not have a high opinion of Steve Stilwell's movie IQ, but surely he'd never argue with him about writers. It was Steve who told me several years ago about Hautman's first YA novel, Mr. Was, a wonderful book. And last year Hautman won the National Book Award for Godless.
Hautman's also the author of a number of fine, funny adult crime novels. I don't know how that career's been going, but I get the impression that the books haven't sold as well as they should have. Doesn't matter, I guess, in one way, since the YA career's going so well.
Rash is Hautman's latest. It's set a toward the end of this century, in the USSA (the United Safer States of America), where no one takes a risk, where anything that might endanger you or someone else has been outlawed, where you can go to prison for dropping an apricot on the ground if someone slips on it. Bo Marsten is from a family of criminals. Both his father and his brother are in the pen, and Bo seems highly likely to join them.
Sure enough, he does, and the book becomes something different from what you might have been expecting. It's sort of a cross between The Longest Yard and Holes, but it's really nothing like that. It also doesn't offer a lot of easy answers. Plus it has laughs. No wonder Hautman keeps on winning awards and piling up the readers. Check it out.