Saturday March 15th at 5:00 PM we have the pleasure of presenting Willy Vlautin for his latest release, The Free. This is a strong release by a Northwestern author who captures the essence of people living on the margins, on the knife edge of life, pitch perfect. He gives them a clear, strong voice, inviting the reader to walk for a few well written pages in the other person’s shoes. Vlautin treats these characters with compassion and respect. You cannot go through a Willy Vlautin story without at least a few “there but for the grace” moments where you see the slippery slope that claimed the characters was steep and hard to avoid. Freddie had a good life going, a mortgage free home he inherited, a marriage and two daughters, then that slope got him and now he is deep in debt, not keeping his head above water, working his day job at the hardware store and a night job as care taker at a group home. Leroy did what a lot of young men do, answered his country’s call for soldiers. The Middle East changed everything, now he lives in a group home a galaxy away from everyday reality, lost to his loved ones. Pauline works hard as a nurse, she has a deep reservoir of compassion, a young girl struggling with life on the streets and drug addiction tugs at her heart. The reader will care for these characters, admire their pluck, and wish them a safe harbor.
Not only does Vlautin write award winning books, he is also the lead singer for Richmond Fontaine and a gifted songwriter. I found the song Northline haunting and beautiful.
His last book, Lean on Pete, won big at the Oregon Book Awards, winning both the Ken Kesey Award and the Reader’s Choice Award. It is set mostly in Oregon and tells the story of a lonely teenager, Charley, who moves with his Dad from Spokane to a rental house in the Delta Park neighborhood of Portland and takes a part time job from an unsavory trainer at the race track. His only friend is Pete, a race horse on his last legs and treated poorly by Charley’s boss. When Charley’s Dad dies, the teenager falls through the cracks. The boy and the horse run away, but the world is not kind to run away teenagers and erstwhile, over the hill, race horses.
Vlautin’s first book, Motel Life, is now a movie winning kudos from critics. It was featured in a very complimentary article in the Oregonian recently. The story is set in Reno, it tells of two brothers, Frank and Jerry Lee, who live in cheap motels until a tragic, drunk driving accident puts them on the run. Their belongings are meager, their claim on life tenuous.
Please call 541-5903-2525, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by to sign up to attend. The event is free, refreshments will be served, and there will be a drawing for door prizes.