When Marching Powder, Rusty Young’s darkly comic account of life in San Pedro prison, was first released in 2003, the world went gaga for it.
Marching Powder was adored by critics and casual readers alike. And then, Rusty Young disappeared.
Some said he went to the US where the film rights were being optioned. Others said he returned to his native Sydney to practice law.
In fact, Young remained in South America, Columbia mostly, and has another book coming soon. His second book, and first novel, will be published by Random House in October this year.
The Work of Other Men, set in Colombia, is ‘the story of one young man’s descent into war and violence in order to avenge his father’s murder’.
Commercial fiction publisher Beverley Cousins said: ‘there is real heart in this powerful novel of a young man’s quest for justice and his decision to do wrong in order to do right’.
‘From Rusty’s work with child soldiers in Colombia has grown a story that shocks, thrills and packs a strong emotional punch,’ said Cousins. ‘I can’t wait for the wider reading public to experience this extraordinary novel.’
by Rusty Young
A true story of friendship, cocaine and South America’s strangest jail.
Rusty Young was backpacking in South America when he heard about Thomas McFadden, a convicted English drug trafficker who ran tours inside Bolivia’s notorious San Pedro prison. Intrigued, the twenty-something Australian law graduate travelled to La Paz and joined one of Thomas’ illegal tours. What followed took both men by surprise: they formed a strong and instant friendship and then became partners in an attempt to record Thomas’ experiences in the jail.
Rusty bribed the guards to allow him to stay and for the next three months he lived inside the prison, sharing a cell with Thomas and recording one of the strangest and most compelling prison stories of all time.
Marching Powder is a shocking, sometimes darkly comic account of the life in San Pedro. In this bizarre prison, inmates are expected to buy their cells from real estate agents. Others run shops and restaurants, and hundreds of women and children live with imprisoned family members. It is a place where corrupt politicians and drug lords live in luxury apartments while the poorest prisoners are subjected to squalor and deprivation.
Marching Powder is the story of one of the strangest places on earth, where horror is leavened by humour and where cruelty lives side by side with compassion.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
Follow Andrew: Twitter