February 2014 Indie Next List
“There may not be another writer whose new work I look more forward to than Willy Vlautin. With just three novels under his belt, he's managed to create a collection of work that reflects the reality of the down-and-out working class in modern America. In his best book yet, the plights of three main characters intertwine as each struggles to overcome hardship and create a better life despite the odds being stacked against them. In a story full of heartbreak yet somehow ultimately uplifting, Vlautin once again demonstrates the power and beauty to be found in our own humanity.”
— Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS
Willy Vlautin demonstrates his extraordinary talent in his heartbreaking yet hopeful new novel, a tale that illuminates the disquiet of modern American life through three memorable characters
Severely wounded in the Iraq war, Leroy Kervin has lived in a group home for eight years. Frustrated by the simplest daily routines, he finds his existence has become unbearable. An act of desperation helps him disappear deep into his mind, into a world of romance and science fiction, danger and adventure where he is whole once again.
Freddie McCall, the night man at Leroy s group home, works two jobs yet still can t make ends meet. He s lost his wife and kids, and the house is next. Medical bills have buried him in debt, a situation that propels him to consider a lucrative and dangerous proposition.
Pauline Hawkins, a nurse, cares for the sick and wounded, including Leroy. She also looks after her mentally ill elderly father. Yet she remains emotionally removed, until she meets a young runaway who touches something deep and unexpected inside her.
In crystalline prose, both beautiful and devastating, this major realist talent ("Seattle Post-Intelligencer") considers the issues transforming ordinary people s lives the cost of health care, the lack of economic opportunity, the devastating scars of war creating an extraordinary contemporary portrait that is also a testament to the resiliency of the human heart.