The Night Always Comes: A Novel

by Willy Vlautin

Hardcover, 2021

Call number

FIC VLA

Collection

Publication

Harper (2021), 224 pages

Description

"Willy Vlautin is not known for happy endings, but there's something here that defies the downward pull. In the end, Lynette is pure life force: fierce and canny and blazing through a city that no longer has space for her, and it's all Portland's loss."--Portland Monthly Magazine Award-winning author Willy Vlautin explores the impact of trickle-down greed and opportunism of gentrification on ordinary lives in this scorching novel that captures the plight of a young woman pushed to the edge as she fights to secure a stable future for herself and her family. Barely thirty, Lynette is exhausted. Saddled with bad credit and juggling multiple jobs, some illegally, she's been diligently working to buy the house she lives in with her mother and developmentally disabled brother Kenny. Portland's housing prices have nearly quadrupled in fifteen years, and the owner is giving them a good deal. Lynette knows it's their last best chance to own their own home--and obtain the security they've never had. While she has enough for the down payment, she needs her mother to cover the rest of the asking price. But a week before they're set to sign the loan papers, her mother gets cold feet and reneges on her promise, pushing Lynette to her limits to find the money they need. Set over two days and two nights, The Night Always Comes follows Lynette's frantic search--an odyssey of hope and anguish that will bring her face to face with greedy rich men and ambitious hustlers, those benefiting and those left behind by a city in the throes of a transformative boom. As her desperation builds and her pleas for help go unanswered, Lynette makes a dangerous choice that sets her on a precarious, frenzied spiral. In trying to save her family's future, she is plunged into the darkness of her past, and forced to confront the reality of her life. A heart wrenching portrait of a woman hungry for security and a home in a rapidly changing city, The Night Always Comes raises the difficult questions we are often too afraid to ask ourselves: What is the price of gentrification, and how far are we really prepared to go to achieve the American Dream? Is the American dream even attainable for those living at the edges? Or for too many of us, is it only a hollow promise?… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member arubabookwoman
If you've read Willy Vlautin you know he writes of society's downtrodden, those living on the underbelly, usually working hard scraping together a living, but unable to make ends meet, unable to catch a break, but decent, kind human beings. The characters in this, his latest novel fit that mold.
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Lynette lives with her mother and her older brother who is mentally disabled in a rundown house in Portland. Their landlord has decided to sell, and has offered to sell to them at an unbelievably low price since the house is in such poor shape. Lynette can just afford it if her mother chips in, and her mother has promised to jointly purchase the house with her. Then at the last minute, her mother reneges and Lynette spends the next 2 nights and days desparately attempting to pull together the funds to salvage the deal.
While this is a typical Vlautin set up, I found that as a whole the book did not achieve the standards of the previous books I have read by this author. The characters did not come to life. Instead of dialogue among the characters, the characters make speeches delineating the ills of society that Vlautin is attempting to expose. This makes for a very weak, and frequently boring novel.
While I cared for Lynette, and there's a strong story here, this is just not Vlautin's best work. He's trying too hard to make a point, rather than tell a story.

2 stars
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LibraryThing member AMKitty
Touted as the example of capitalism as the problem with our society, this novella is a better example of the envious and “poor me” mindset that is the problem with our society.

The characters make bad decisions and then whine about their crappy lives, never taking responsibility for their own
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choices. The MC is a troubled 30 y/o living in her mother’s rented home after blowing up a good relationship. Her developmentally disabled brother is still at home when he would do better and be less burden on her mother if he were in a group home with appropriate support.

When the mother backs out of helping buy the rental from their landlord, the MC dithers about trying to figure out what to do about losing her living space. She can’t afford to live in Portland. For pity’s sake, she saved nearly $100k over three years by prostituting herself. Her skill set includes baking - not exactly a non-portable skill.

It takes someone outside her circle of loser, drugged-out “friends” to tell her to leave the city for a place where she can live on her income. If this story is typical of the attitude and outlook of big city dwellers, I’ve never been happier that I escaped that mindset (and environment) years ago.
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LibraryThing member davidroche
Discovering Willy Vlautin’s books a couple of years ago was one of those fantastic things that makes you wonder how you did without him before. His latest book, The Night Always Comes (Faber) is a hard-hitting story of Lynette, who lives with her chain smoking in front of the TV mother and looks
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after her brother who is grown up but with the mental ability of a three year old. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel but it never seems within reach. It’s grim, occasionally shocking, but also uplifting in places with amazing resilience on show. As always, the author’s writing is wonderful and the tale totally absorbing. If you haven’t discovered Willy Vlautin yet, dive in!
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LibraryThing member brangwinn
Desperation seeps through the words of Vlautin’s work. Like so many growing urban areas, Portland Oregon’s working class is being forced out by gentrification. I felt like in a Tennessee Williams story not set in the south. Lynette, is trying to attend community college, care for her disabled
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older brother and pay the rent on their falling down house. Her mother seems to have given up and Lynette finds herself caught in a position where she can make the down payment on their and makes some either stupid or courageous decisions on how to get the money. And as the title indicates, this is not a happy story. At the end, the reader is left to decide what will happen to Lynette. Do you see her glass as half empty or half full? I listened to the audiobook narrated by Christine Lakin and highly recommend it, but I suggestion you choose a time when you can dedicate to listening to the book. Once started, the mental picture created by the narration and the author’s descriptions will make it hard to put down.
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LibraryThing member Beth.Clarke
Although very different than Don't Skip Out on Me, I loved this Vlautin book, too. It is set in present day Portland and shows a broken protagonist going after her American Dream. The characters are deep and the plot is full of conflict. It's short and just impeccable storytelling.
LibraryThing member lauralkeet
Lynette’s life has been one struggle after another, but finally she sees a light at the end of the tunnel: after three years working two jobs, she has saved enough money to join her mother in buying the house they currently rent. Stability is a top concern, especially due to the care needs of
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Lynette’s developmentally disabled brother Kenny. But then her mother backs out of the deal, setting Lynette off on a manic attempt to amass more funds of her own. Over the course of one long night she tracks down previous “benefactors”, demands repayment of loans made to friends, and tries to make money off of a couple of unexpected finds. Each encounter reveals more of Lynette’s back story, a tale of family instability, financial hardship, and mental illness. As the night wears on Lynette becomes increasingly desperate, putting herself in danger more than once.

Set in Portland, Oregon, Willy Vlautin shows the dark side of rapid gentrification: the displacement of an economic class that was already struggling. Survival requires working multiple jobs, some of which are illegal. Housing is substandard and living arrangements are often temporary, pieced together with friends or even mere acquaintances.

Although the pacing and suspense drew me in from the start, this book was by no means an easy read and left me with a lot to think about.
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ISBN

0063035081 / 9780063035089
Page: 0.2184 seconds