"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?
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.
The characters make bad decisions and then whine about their crappy lives, never taking responsibility for their own
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.
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.