Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Night Always Comes

The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin
4/6/21; 224 pages

The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin is a very highly recommended, heartbreaking, working class drama of greed impacting the life of a young woman.

Lynette, 30, has been working three jobs for three years and is exhausted. She is trying to gather the money for a down payment on the dilapidated rental house she lives in with her mother, and her developmentally disabled brother Kenny in Portland, Oregon. The owner wants to sell the house and is going to give them a good deal if they want to buy it. Lynette has a bad credit rating, but if her mother can provide some of the down payment and cosign the loan, the three of them will have the security they have never had before and a chance to fix up the house. That was the plan, but at the last minute her mother backs out, putting money down on a new car instead, setting Lynette out to collect on the money she has loaned others in order to get the whole down payment on her own.

This brief novel is set over just two days and nights and follows Lynette's quest for the money they need. The night is a long, tortuous, violent, and desperate hunt that puts her in contact with greedy men, prostitution, hustlers, cons, abusers, users, and others who prey upon the vulnerable. As she is trying to gather the money she needs, she is also keeping track of how easily her car starts. As the night goes on flashbacks will tell Lynette's backstory which provides even more depth and understanding of what this young woman has endured.

Lynette is a character you will fiercely care about and worry over her safety. I can't remember a character whose story totally consumed me like Lynette's did. Obviously, to care so much about a fictional character clearly shows that this character is very well-developed. This is a novel of the working class and how the American Dream seems unattainable; for many people working two jobs and wearing yourself down is a daily fact of life.

The writing was absolutely flawless. As we follow Lynette in her search, The Night Always Comes seized my attention and evoke all the emotions. The ending was perfect and provided a measure of hope. Even though the plot seems simple, this is one of the best books I have read. It will certainly be on my list of top novels of the year and I will be seeking out and reading other novels by Vlautin.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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