Willy Vlautin ~ Northline & The Motel Life

My husband doesn’t read books much due to an old eye injury when he was a kid (dirt clod in the left eye, now has a man-made lens) ~ so when he finds a book that he actually sits down to read, I get pretty excited.

Last year I read an article about Willy Vlautin, an author who is a Reno native and now resides in Portland, OR, and his new book at that time,The Motel Life. Read the article to my husband and off we went to buy the book. He loved it. I can’t comment about it myself, as I haven’t read it yet…so here is the Booklist’s write-up:

Author Vlautin, a member of the critically acclaimed alt-country band Richmond Fontaine, has crafted a beautifully artless first novel. It tells the story of Frank and Jerry Lee Flannigan, who are on the run because of a hit-run-and-run accident in which Jerry Lee was involved. Eschewing compound sentences and even similes, Vlautin illuminates the lives of two decent young men from Reno who have been dealt a very bad hand; their mother died when they were teens, and their father, a thief and an inveterate gambler, left years before. They live in down-at-the-heels motels, drink too much, and work at dead-end jobs. Jerry Lee is a self-described “loser”–but with a conscience. He fails at suicide occasioned by grief, but Frank is there, inventing naive stories to keep him going. It’s as ineffably sad as a lyric by Willie Nelson, but it’s also a richly compassionate and sweetly sad meditation on what Billy Clyde Puckett in Dan Jenkins’ Semi-Tough (1972) called “life itsownself.” If there’s any justice, anywhere, The Motel Life will be widely read and widely admired. Thomas Gaughan

Over the weekend I read another article that Willy has a brand new book out and will be at Sundance Book store for an autograph signing and might possibly play his guitar too. He is part of the group Richmond Fontaine ~ which by the way, is a great band! After buying Willy’s new book, Northline, we popped the accompanying cd and listened. It’s an acoustic cd that is absolutely wonderful! Great music to read to…or in my case, putz in the garden to.

Taken from Richmond Fontaine's Blog:

Northline ~ Timorous, twentysomething Allison Johnson is pregnant. She didn’t complete high school and has worked as a waitress for several years. She often gets drunk and quickly passes out and then writes herself letters that shriek her lack of worth. But her biggest fear is of Jimmy Bodie, her abusive, budding-skinhead boyfriend. So she leaves Las Vegas and moves to Reno. She gives her son up for adoption, begins waitressing again, and has imaginary conversations with actor Paul Newman that help her carry on. Vlautin uses the same strikingly spare and simple prose in Northline that distinguised his critically acclaimed first novel, The Motel Life (2007). His essential subject, decent people enduring difficult lives, also remains the same, but here he takes a giant step in his growth as a novelist, plumbing much deeper into the emotional core of his characters. Northline recalls a dust-jacket blurb on an early edition of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men: “Two hours to read, 20 years to forget.” —Thomas Gaughan, Booklist

Tuesday, May 20th 6:30pm
Sundance Books
1155 West 4th Street #106
Reno, NV

Sundance is delighted to welcome back Reno native Willy Vlautin to read from his latest novel, Northline. He may also break out the guitar and play a few numbers from Northline’s accompanying CD.

Well…my husband now has two autographed books and really enjoyed himself with the reading and music.

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About sleepycathollow

I'm Michelle and live in Northern Nevada ~ beautiful mix of high desert and the Sierra.
This entry was posted in books, music and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Willy Vlautin ~ Northline & The Motel Life

  1. blazedanielle says:

    Thanks for sharing! What fun!

  2. Ryan Jerz says:

    I was there at Sundance, too. Willy was great. You can read about my experience here.

    On another note, I also moved from Canyon Country to Nevada. In my case it was Elko when I was twelve, but I’ve lived in Reno since I started college at 18. Cool coincidence.

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