Junkyard at No Town Receives Kirkus Review


“A young man encounters eccentrics while running an old junkyard in 1980s Vermont in this slice-of-life novel. Fresh out of college, Jules Alpert decides to move to Iraton, Vermont, where residents live by the maxim “You mind your business, and I’ll mind mine.” Jules is known for his hoarder tendencies, and he collects items that he thinks represent“whole categories of the undesired…ill-fated things that had once been treasured.” He purchases a ramshackle junkyard, with his realtor Aunt Martha, a hippie who sells marijuana on the side, brokering the deal. After buying the property, which sits on the edge of an unincorporated piece of land nicknamed “No Town,” Jules encounters several oddball locals, including Butchy Guyette, who can’t read but has handyman skills; Byron, a mute young boy whom Jules nearly runs over; and Maddy, Byron’s attractive sister, with whom Jules falls in love. While smoking pot, learning Vermont vernacular, and collecting junk, Jules nicely settles into his new life. But not everything is quaint in Iraton; for one thing, a car with a fortune’s worth of cocaine hidden inside it makes its way to Jules’ junkyard. Its owners are desperately searching for it, and they bring danger with them. Later, Jules and his friends ultimately witness a miracle that makes them realize just how special Iraton is. In this debut novel, Myers presents a rich world while also paying tribute to the sleepy charm of rural Vermont and to America’s automotive history. In an author’s note, Myers explains that Iraton is fictitious, but he makes the town feel incredibly real with lush descriptions of greenery and carefully crafted characters. He nails the distinctive Vermont dialect in his dialogue (“Might’s well make yourself cozy, bein’ as you’ll be living here”), which is entertaining to parse as Jules adjusts to it. Although the sheer number of characters may be overwhelming at first, the novel fluidly brings them together, and they quickly feel like a genuine group of friends. Overall, this is a distinctive reading experience that sincerely expresses how one should appreciate overlooked things.

“An insightful and often beautiful look into a sentimental corner of America’s past.”

—Kirkus Reviews

Stephen McArthur