Philipp Meyer’s engrossing first novel, American Rust, was about an accidental killing and its consequences for a tight-knit Pennsylvania community. Similarly, Meyer’s new novel, The Son, set in Texas, is concerned with killing and family. Much of what I’d admired in American Rust is present in The Son: the way Meyer hands the narrative from character to character, chapter by chapter, and the characters’ dark eloquence about the sins and the triumphs of mankind.
The Son’s scope is much bigger: it spans close to two hundred years (versus a few months) and encompasses multiple communities (white settlers, Mexicans, and Indian tribes). And this book begins with the slaughters of two families. No accident, these deaths.