Synopses & Reviews
Rus is a creature of habit. His mother abandoned him years earlier, leaving him with a shabby, un-permitted apartment and a debit card, from which he withdraws money everyday to purchase his Starbucks drink. When Rus is told by a government agency that his apartment is illegal and not fit for a human occupation, his simple life is turned upside down. For the first time, the unemployed, child-man Rus learns about something truly awful: taxes. Realizing that the debit account is almost empty, Rus panics, and what is left is stolen by a smooth talking Russian submarine captain.
As Rus capitulates to the demands of society and gets a job with the help of a controlling new girlfriend, a local postal worker surveys the other residents of the neighborhood from her apartment window. It is through her omniscient voice that we learn about "everyone else." A secretary struggles to make human connections, or even conversations, while her affair with her lawyer boss isn't helping matters. A delivery man wants to make a name for himself, but his ambitions don't seem to match his immigrant status. A lonely bachelor struggles to overcome his paranoia, and may finally triumph at a rally for the Queen. An old woman named Mrs. Blue compulsively steals hand creams to compensate for the cancellation of her favorite program. And there, inside Mrs. Blue's TV, the star of the soap opera begins to question her existence, as something clearly has gone awry. And at the center of it all is Rus - a sweet and inexperienced soul whose journey captures the daily isolation and confusion most of us are desperately pretending not to notice.
Debut novelist Adriansee weaves together the intersecting lives of neighbors struggling to live in the modern condition, in a world of corporate sameness and forced interactions, perfectly capturing the struggle for individuality in the post-recession zeitgeist.
"This is a great book. I thought this was the freshest, most unusual writing I'd come across in years. Bette will win awards; but meanwhile continue to write and create and freak me out with her ingenuity and a voice that is unique, a gift." Marti Leimbach, author of Dying Young
and The Man From Saigon
"Bette Adriaanse has concocted a blend of Rear Window and Under Milk Wood, a world in which various inhabitants of a neighborhood are not only observed but intimately known by a girl with a blonde ponytail whose task is to deliver post. The episodes are brief, short hooks in the narrative to increase the mystery. The whole is elegant and tantalizing." George Szirtes, T.S. Eliot Prize winning author of Reel
"Everyday life gets a dose of unruly energy in Adriaanse's debut novel, which follows a cluster of eccentric characters throughout the neighborhood they all share. Adriaanse takes a hard look at the people we see and ignore most days--the postal workers, the secretaries, the strange old men next door--and imagines rich inner lives for them all, creating a book at once rowdy and sympathetic, an absurd panorama that somehow seems truer the stranger it gets. Rus Like Everyone Else isn't like anything else." — Benjamin Rybeck, Marketing Director at Brazos Bookstore
Rus is a creature of habit. His mother left him an apartment and debit card, from which he withdraws money everyday to purchase a drink at Starbucks. Until Rus is told by a government agency that his apartment is illegal and that he owes taxes. Lots of taxes. Rus panics and his cash is stolen by a smooth talking Russian submarine captain.
Meanwhile, as Rus capitulates to the demands of society and finds an office job with the help of a micro-managing new girlfriend, the neighborhood's local postal worker surveys the lives of its other residents with an omniscient eye: Mrs. Blue compulsively steals hand creams; a secretary struggles to make conversation (much less human connections); a delivery man desperately seeks to make a name for himself but struggles with his immigrant status; and an aging bachelor, hampered by extreme paranoia, will finally have the chance to meet the Queen (if he can just hold it together long enough).
With Rus at the head of this lonely ensemble's search for meaning in a complicated and alienating world, debut novelist Adriansee weaves together intersecting lives to create a mini-epic, one that charts a hidden resistance to corporate sameness and artificial relationships.
About the Author
is a writer and a visual artist. She was born in Amsterdam in 1984. Bette graduated from the Image and Language department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 2008 and has received her M.A. in Creative Writing from Oxford University in 2010. She has published fiction in magazines for literature and philosophy, and exhibits her visual work internationally. Rus Like Everyone Else
is her first novel. She lives in London.