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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 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?


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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 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?

30 review for The Night Always Comes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    For a lot of years the only way I used to know how to get control of my life was to get mad. It was the only way I knew how to stand up for myself. --Lynette --------------------------------------- The point is you can’t be too greedy. --The Future 45th President of the United States of America What does gentrification look like for people who are being pushed out? The foundation of the house was poured in 1922 using faulty concrete. During the winter rains, it leaked in a half-dozen pl For a lot of years the only way I used to know how to get control of my life was to get mad. It was the only way I knew how to stand up for myself. --Lynette --------------------------------------- The point is you can’t be too greedy. --The Future 45th President of the United States of America What does gentrification look like for people who are being pushed out? The foundation of the house was poured in 1922 using faulty concrete. During the winter rains, it leaked in a half-dozen places. Over the years small sections of the concrete wall had grown soft, the cement beginning to crumble. Their first landlord hired a company to patch the foundation, but he had died, and his son, who lived on the coast near Astoria, inherited the house. He hadn’t raised the rent in eleven years with the understanding that they wouldn’t call him for repairs. So they didn’t, and the basement was left to leak. Lynette’s got it tough, but she has a plan. She has been working like a dog at several jobs for the last few years and has squirreled away enough money for a down-payment on the rundown house she has been renting for years, with her mother and developmentally disabled brother. The gentrification that has impacted most cities is making Portland, Oregon a very difficult place to get by in, particularly for folks at the lower edges. It was under $100K some years back, but is now close to $300K, and will only keep rising. If they can buy the house, they can stay in a neighborhood they like, a good thing for Lynette and her mother, but a great thing for Kenny, whose need for familiarity far exceeds theirs. ‘Sometimes reading about loneliness can make you feel less lonely’ ... Willy Vlautin Photograph: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian Portland is changing so rapidly it’s hard to know what to think. It used to be a haven for artists. When I moved here it was cheap and people would come out to see original music. It was lucky. It’s still great, it’s a great city, but it’s too expensive. I don’t know where all the money’s coming from, but it’s coming and it’s hard on the working class and the artists. The working class people get pushed out to the suburbs and the artists just move to different cheaper cities. - from the Americana UK interviewBut one week from signing for the mortgage, Mom bails, unwilling to take on the debt, and Lynette, who, for a variety of reasons, has bad credit and cannot get a mortgage on her own, is stuck. It will have to be done with Mom, or not at all. I’m fifty-seven years old and I still buy my clothes at Goodwill. It’s a little late for me to care about building a future…You don’t know what it’s like. Other women my age are going on vacations with their grandkids, they’re talking about retirement plans and investments. Me, I haven’t taken a vacation since the time we went to San Francisco, and that was over fifteen years ago…I’ll never retire and that’s just a goddam fact….why do I have to sacrifice more than I already have? Why do I have to have a debt hanging over me for the rest of my life? They will be double-screwed if someone else buys, as they will be evicted and forced to rent somewhere farther out, where they might come close to being able to afford the rent. The owner is giving them a pretty good price, considering the market. What the hell, Mom? You could have said something. It was January and raining and forty-one degrees when Lynette and her brother walked across the lawn to her red 1992 Nissan Sentra. She opened the passenger-side door and Kenny got in. She put on his seat belt and walked around to the driver’s side. The car started on the second try. The heater hadn’t worked in a year and their breath fogged the windows inside the car. She drove with one hand on the wheel and the other holding a rag she used to wipe the condensation and steam from the windshield. If it were funny, I guess it would be a running joke, but every time Lynette starts her old beater we are given a count on how many tries it takes for her to actually get the motor going. I can relate to Lynette, having driven my ’96 Buick to work for at least a couple of years in the 20-teens with no heat or a/c. I kept a good supply of rags and paper towels in the car, and dressed very warmly in winter. And never left for work without double-checking that I had my inhaler. Maxed out my AAA club allowance for jump-starts in both those years. Wound up having to take the subway, mostly because I was not willing to risk freezing to death on the Kosciuszko Bridge when the car conked out one more time and it might be hours before Triple A could send some help. Vlautin is a master at showing, taking us through the events of a harrowing few days in Lynette’s life. What he chooses to show, and how clearly he shows it, gives us a very vibrant, if dark, picture of her life, and the limitations and challenges she faces from the outside world. One running comment is on the mass of construction underway. This place sold its parking lot for an apartment development. Another condo-building is going up here, more over there. Formerly recognizable neighborhoods have been transformed into yuppie-vortex. She is out of her mind trying to figure a way to deal with this huge setback, so places her hope in being able to convince her mother to take back the brand new Toyota she just bought, and hitting up everyone who owes her money. We follow her through two days and nights in the lowest tiers of Portland life, both physical and moral. Along the way Vlautin takes us on a tour of the city, not the sort of a booking tourists might sign up for, as Lynette fills in pieces of her life and history with each part of town she visits. (I added a map link in EXTRA STUFF) In her book Automating Inequality, Virginia Eubanks writes: poverty is not an island; it is a borderland. There’s quite a lot of movement in the economic fringes, especially across the fuzzy boundary between the poor and the working class. Those who live in the economic borderlands are pitted against one another by policy that squeezes every possible dime from the wallets of the working class at the same time that it cuts social programs for the poor and absolves the professional middle class and wealthy of their social obligations. What Eubanks does not address is that in addition to the gauzy border between working class and poor, there is a pretty thin veil between being poor but legal and stepping through to criminality. One would expect that there is a lot of traffic there, driven by desperation. Lynette steps across the line. Does that make her a bad person? Of course, some criminals, some of the folks Lynette deals with, are just scummy people. Greed is a central theme here. Sometimes it is unequivocal. Sometimes more nuanced. Lynette’s mother can be seen as greedy for buying herself a new car while bailing on the plan she and Lynette had agreed on to buy their home. Mom has some reasonable gripes about never having had anything for herself, but still, breaking a promise that big way too close to the signing date is just not ok. A little notice would have been nice. The people from whom Lynette tries to retrieve owed money are a motley lot, a woman who clearly can pay her back, but does not want to, a man who does everything in his power to short change her. Even the people she asks for help try to take advantage of her. One actively puts her in harm’s way. Criminals try to steal what she already has. But Lynette’s attempt to bolster her funds is also foolish. She will never be able to gather enough to remove the need for a mortgage, a mortgage she will never get on her own. It will ultimately all come down to her ability to sway her mother. I just panicked and tried to get all the money that was owed me. I made a lot of mistakes and got greedy. Vlautin writes about people on the edge, working class, desperate people, lonely people, isolated people. When you look at a person’s life it’s easy to pass judgement if you don’t know them. The more you know the more you understand. Sometimes you find out what a person has gone through and you’re surprised they are even upright. Other times it’s the opposite, some people just seem to invite or continuously stumble into hard times. I always try to show both sides in my songs and novels. I’ve always been interested in how people can get beat up day after day and still get by, often times with great dignity. The struggle to overcome one’s own ditches has always interested me. - from the Americana UK interviewBut there is always strength, hope, and goodness in Vlautin’s writing. In Don’t Skip Out on Me, his prior novel, an older couple try their best to give a leg up to a troubled young man. In The Free, Pauline, a nurse, is taking care of her father, and trying to help a troubled teen runaway, while Freddie, working in a long-term care facility, tries to help out as many residents as he can, a veteran suffering severe head trauma chief among these. Lynette has made some serious mistakes in her life, and she has issues that she may or may not be able to control, but she is working as hard as she possibly can. And a large part of that is her love of her brother. She wants to buy the house, not just for herself and her mother, but for Kenny, who needs that stability a lot more than she or her mother does. And when kindness does shine through, from an unexpected source, it is the relief we have been pining for, a beacon in the gloom, a desperately needed recognition in a world of people turning away. But the problem remains. What does gentrification look like for people who are being pushed out, whether they are good people or not? (For my wife and me, it was being driven out of Brooklyn for affordable housing 125 miles away. No criminality involved, at least none that I will admit to.) Vlautin offers a peering light in a dark place, looks at how poor and working-class folks cope, or don’t, with the challenges of life in the 21st century. When he was much younger, he used to have hanging in his room a portrait of John Steinbeck, a writer who also wrote extensively about life for folks on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. I expect he would be very impressed at the body of work Vlautin has produced. Like Steinbeck, Vlautin is one of the best writers of his generation, someone who cares about working people, and is able to powerfully dramatize the struggles they endure. The Night Always Comes. Yes it does, and it gets plenty dark. But Willy will leave a light on for you. Review posted – September 18, 2020 Publication date – April 6, 2021 =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s personal, Twitter and FB pages, and a Wiki page entry for good measure. Prior books by Vlautin I have reviewed -----2018 - Don't Skip Out on Me -----2014 - The Free -----2008 - Northline This is Vlautin’s sixth novel Interviews -----Americana UK - Interview: Willy Vlautin by Del Dey -----Lake Oswego Library - Lake Oswego Library Presents: Willy Vlautin - with Bill Kenower – on The Free and Don’t Skip Out on Me – video - 34:42 -----Deschutes Library - Author Willy Vlautin -----The Irish Times - Willy Vlautin: ‘You try to make something that is a story, and is about life, but also says something that matter - by Ellen Battersby -----The Guardian - Willy Vlautin: 'I think my mother was ashamed that I was a novelist' by Ryan Gilbey -----Little White Lies - Willy Vlautin on the art of working class storytelling by Ian Gilchrist Items of Interest -----The Delines - The Imperial -----My review of Automating Inequality -----Portland Locations in the novel - I made a Google map to show some of the places Lynette travels in her odyssey. Still fiddling with this. Hope I got them all correct. Please let me know if (when) you spot errors, so I can make necessary repairs. I did not specify a location for Lynette’s home or for the 9th Street Bakery, although I have my suspicions. For best results, click on the View in Google Maps option for each entry. From there, you might want to poke around a bit , clicking on the images that are offered on the left part of the window.

  2. 5 out of 5

    L.A.

    For the love of humanity, this was a hard, emotional read. I applaud Willy Vlautin, which could possibly be one of my new faves. He captures the hope of the American people, but the unattainable goal for many. Lynette is trying to find her place in the world with her hard work ethics. With so much at stake at only 30 years old, she provides for her special needs brother. Hoping to save enough money for a down payment on a home that they have been renting. Praying for her mom's help with the mone For the love of humanity, this was a hard, emotional read. I applaud Willy Vlautin, which could possibly be one of my new faves. He captures the hope of the American people, but the unattainable goal for many. Lynette is trying to find her place in the world with her hard work ethics. With so much at stake at only 30 years old, she provides for her special needs brother. Hoping to save enough money for a down payment on a home that they have been renting. Praying for her mom's help with the money, instead she spends the money on a new car. In a neighborhood that once was labeled as a poor urban area, has been changed through gentrification. A very controversial topic with the influx of more affluent residents and businesses changing the facade of the area and displacing many of the ones that were already having a difficult time surviving. Depression sets in as her world becomes bleak with desperation to make unwise decisions. She could settle for less than safe neighborhoods she could afford, but not what they want to do. With a fine line drawn in the community with poverty and criminalization, some find themselves crossing it just to survive. This book captures her bleak life and the working people and their economic struggles. "You cease to distinguish between right and wrong. You can no longer see clearly what is good and what is bad." Good job, Willy Vlautin. I can't do this book justice. Thank you,NetGalley & Harper for this incredible ARC for exchange of my honest opinion.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Be prepared - this book is dark and depressing. I don’t know when I’ve heard a story this bleak. Lynette’s life is really not going well. She’s working several jobs, one of which is illegal. Her brother is developmentally challenged with the mind of a three year old. She’s managed to save the money needed for the downpayment to buy their home, but her mom reneges on her willingness to take in the mortgage. When she tries to start collecting the money she’s owed from various people, things get ev Be prepared - this book is dark and depressing. I don’t know when I’ve heard a story this bleak. Lynette’s life is really not going well. She’s working several jobs, one of which is illegal. Her brother is developmentally challenged with the mind of a three year old. She’s managed to save the money needed for the downpayment to buy their home, but her mom reneges on her willingness to take in the mortgage. When she tries to start collecting the money she’s owed from various people, things get even worse. I definitely wanted to find out whether things would eventually work out for her. Vlautin provides flashbacks to Lynette’s life as the story progresses, so we learn more and more about what damaged her. The book covers those that live paycheck to paycheck, the ones that have been left behind as the world moves forward. It also deals with mental illness, especially those that can’t get help. I think this book might work better as a book to be read rather than listen to. I felt for Lynette and it was very well written, but it was a depressing book to listen to. That’s not to say Christine Larkin isn’t a strong narrator. She imparts all the necessary emotion. My thanks to netgalley and Harper Audio for an advance copy of this audiobook. Be prepared - this book is dark and depressing. I don’t know when I’ve heard a story this bleak. Lynette’s life is really not going well. She’s working several jobs, one of which is illegal. Her brother is developmentally challenged with the mind of a three year old. She’s managed to save the money needed for the downpayment to buy their home, but her mom reneges on her willingness to take in the mortgage. When she tries to start collecting the money she’s owed from various people, things get even worse. I definitely wanted to find out whether things would eventually work out for her. Vlautin provides flashbacks to Lynette’s life as the story progresses, so we learn more and more about what damaged her. The book covers those that live paycheck to paycheck, the ones that have been left behind as the world moves forward. It also deals with mental illness, especially those that can’t get help. I think this book might work better as a book to be read rather than listen to. I felt for Lynette and it was very well written, but it was a depressing book to listen to. That’s not to say Christine Larkin isn’t a strong narrator. She imparts all the necessary emotion. My thanks to netgalley and Harper Audio for an advance copy of this audiobook.

  4. 5 out of 5

    William Boyle

    "Most people don't care about doing good. Most people just push you out of the way and grab what they want." I first read Willy Vlautin back in 2008. NORTHLINE had just come out. I bought it and THE MOTEL LIFE based on the blurbs from Tom Franklin and George Pelecanos, two writers I love. I went home and read both over a few days. Since then, I've called Willy Vlautin my favorite writer. One of the reasons I say this is I don't think there's anybody else out there with such a raw, honest voice. "Most people don't care about doing good. Most people just push you out of the way and grab what they want." I first read Willy Vlautin back in 2008. NORTHLINE had just come out. I bought it and THE MOTEL LIFE based on the blurbs from Tom Franklin and George Pelecanos, two writers I love. I went home and read both over a few days. Since then, I've called Willy Vlautin my favorite writer. One of the reasons I say this is I don't think there's anybody else out there with such a raw, honest voice. With so many folks, even the greats, you can feel the artifice or the tricks or whatever. With Vlautin, you're just there, living life with the characters, struggling, scraping by, fighting, failing, hoping. Another reason is no writer I can think of makes me feel emotion the way Vlautin does. I guess it comes down to that rawness and honesty again. His books wreck me in the best way. THE NIGHT ALWAYS COMES is his new one. It comes out in April 2021. I got an ARC a few days ago, and I had to stop myself from burning through it in one sitting. Instead, I read it over three days. It's a short book, 206 pages, and it's everything I've come to expect from Vlautin. I feel like a chump because I say the same thing every time I read a new book of his, that it's his best yet, my new favorite, but I think that's a good way to be with an artist. I love all of his books and records. That said, I do think this is his best yet. With publication so far off, I won't say much about the plot of the book that you can't read in the copy. Lynette is the main character here. She's scraping by with three jobs, living with her mother and developmentally disabled brother in a Portland they barely recognize anymore. Rents are out of control. Affluence has come to town. They've been living in the same shitty house forever. The landlord is finally letting it go, agreeing to sell it to them for a decent price. Lynette has bad credit and has to rely on her mother for the loan. When her mother backs out at the last second, Lynette's sent into a desperate spiral, digging up old ghosts, hunting for hope, seeking salvage in a city that wants to spit her out. I love all of Vlautin's main characters--the Flannigan Brothers in THE MOTEL LIFE; Allison Johnson in NORTHLINE; Charley Thompson in LEAN ON PETE; Leroy, Freddie, and Pauline in THE FREE; and Horace Hopper in DON'T SKIP OUT ON ME--but Lynette is definitely my favorite since Allison. She's sad and tough, broken and hopeful, as true on the page as a character can get. I worried for her, I cheered for her, I felt the kind of love for her I feel for friends and family. I've long thought Kelly Reichardt would be the perfect director to adapt one of Vlautin's books. I think she might've even been attached to NORTHLINE or LEAN ON PETE at some point. But, man, if ever one of his books was tailor made for her, it's this one. Tonally, THE NIGHT ALWAYS COMES doesn't feel that different than Reichardt's recent masterpiece, FIRST COW, which also concerns itself with goodness and greed. I thought of another film a lot, too. TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT by the Dardenne Brothers. In fact, watching that film was probably the last time I cried as hard as I did reading THE NIGHT ALWAYS COMES. Sandra, played by Marion Cotillard, has a lot in common with Vlautin's Lynette. They're both trying to survive. They're both treading water in a world that seems content to let them drown. They're both on an odyssey--Sandra takes two days and one night to try to convince her coworkers to give up their bonuses so she can keep her job, while Lynette takes two days and two nights to scrape dirt out of the darkest corners of her past. Both the film and book are rooted in concepts of compassion and forgiveness. They're both beautiful in their sympathetic portraits of shattered women trying to piece themselves together again. Vlautin's always a great place writer, and this is no exception. It immediately joins the list of best novels set in Portland, Oregon, right up there at the top with Don Carpenter's HARD RAIN FALLING and Kent Anderson's NIGHT DOGS. There's also lots to say about how this book tackles the way affluence is ruining so many American cities, about class and wealth inequality, and about the death of the American Dream, the notion that owning something matters, that working hard enough means you can live honestly and be fulfilled. What happens when people see that this isn't true, that there's an elaborate con at work, that the rich just keep getting richer and the poor get chased into bad deals and bad loans and bad houses and bad lives until they disappear? Lynette is one of those people and, through her, we see exactly what happens. The story of her and her family and the people she knows is the story of people buying into being fed a lie until there's no lie left to believe. Still, ultimately, THE NIGHT ALWAYS COMES is a novel about goodness, about living with a code of decency as notions of decency and kindness crumble all around us. Vlautin brings the hope like only he can. I'm truly thankful to have read it, and I can't wait to read it again.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rene Denfeld

    Remarkable, real, and tender, THE NIGHT ALWAYS COMES is a story of America, of the disenfranchised and the still hopeful, of a world littered with artifacts and so little opportunity. Willy Vlautin's characters blaze with honesty, fighting for their slim chance at the American dream, leaving us all to wonder by the end if it is just a charade. This book is an amazing achievement. I highly recommend. Remarkable, real, and tender, THE NIGHT ALWAYS COMES is a story of America, of the disenfranchised and the still hopeful, of a world littered with artifacts and so little opportunity. Willy Vlautin's characters blaze with honesty, fighting for their slim chance at the American dream, leaving us all to wonder by the end if it is just a charade. This book is an amazing achievement. I highly recommend.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tom Mooney

    My favourite writer. The literary event of my year. And it delivers handsomely. No-one chronicles the failure of the American Dream like Willy. He creates characters who have been chewed up and spat out by a capitalist system designed to keep them striving but never making it. Never more so than with Lynette, whose fragile existence crumbles around her over two defining days. Stuck in a cycle of work, sleep, work, work, look after her disabled brother, sleep, repeat.... Lynette sees her only way o My favourite writer. The literary event of my year. And it delivers handsomely. No-one chronicles the failure of the American Dream like Willy. He creates characters who have been chewed up and spat out by a capitalist system designed to keep them striving but never making it. Never more so than with Lynette, whose fragile existence crumbles around her over two defining days. Stuck in a cycle of work, sleep, work, work, look after her disabled brother, sleep, repeat.... Lynette sees her only way out as buying the decrepit house she shares with her brother and mother. But, when those meager prospects come under threat, she goes to ever greater - and more dangerous - lengths to chase her losses. A devastating, heart-wrenching demolition of modern America by a genuinely great writer.

  7. 4 out of 5

    karen

    fulfilling my 2021 goal to read one book each month by an author i have never read despite owning more than one of their books.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Audiobook version and it was excellent. Christine Larkin was the narrator and she was very talented and a good choice for this story! Great job Christine. This was different than anything I’ve read before. It’s hard for me to explain. It was detailed and interesting and each person was complex. This author showed me so much with his words. How he said them. The way he brought the characters to life. I had to finished it in one day. I was intrigued. I wanted closer and I couldn’t put it down. Whe Audiobook version and it was excellent. Christine Larkin was the narrator and she was very talented and a good choice for this story! Great job Christine. This was different than anything I’ve read before. It’s hard for me to explain. It was detailed and interesting and each person was complex. This author showed me so much with his words. How he said them. The way he brought the characters to life. I had to finished it in one day. I was intrigued. I wanted closer and I couldn’t put it down. When I finished I was like: • Is there a book two? • What the heck did I just read? • Why haven’t I heard of this author before? I loved the writing style and understood the characters so well. Lots of this reminded me of my old life. I want to mention that this isn’t a feel good book. But it was good. And I will definitely read another by this talented author. Great job. But I only have one question. Where’s my ending???? Thanks to Harper Audio via Netgalley for this audiobook. I’ve voluntarily written this review. All opinions are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Perkins Propes

    I enjoy depressing things, so the bleakness of this book didn’t bother me as it has some others. The way these characters live is sadly how too many get through this life making it a story worth sharing. The unrealistic dialogue was difficult to get through at times, though. It attempted to do what would have been better left to the narrator. The author had to provide context because of the condensed timeline (which I liked), but the way it was done through these ramblings was almost insulting. I enjoy depressing things, so the bleakness of this book didn’t bother me as it has some others. The way these characters live is sadly how too many get through this life making it a story worth sharing. The unrealistic dialogue was difficult to get through at times, though. It attempted to do what would have been better left to the narrator. The author had to provide context because of the condensed timeline (which I liked), but the way it was done through these ramblings was almost insulting. It was also bizarre how many references were made about the mother being forty pounds overweight and such a sloppy “fatso” and about obesity in general. I realize that seems like an unfair critism, but it was just odd and off-putting. Happy to have read the book and appreciative of the opportunity, but it’s not one I would generally recommend. There are a few friends who I think would be more inclined to enjoy it. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Greg Zimmerman

    Compact, pitch-perfect, and immensely powerful, this is a crushing look at the failing American dream and the widening divide between those who take (mostly mediocre men) and those who strive against a system stacked against them. I know I'm in the minority in this, but I don't normally like short novels. I like to sit with a set of characters, with a setting, with a set of themes, etc., for a good long time. But in 200 pages, Vlautin manages to construct a novel that feels fully developed, full Compact, pitch-perfect, and immensely powerful, this is a crushing look at the failing American dream and the widening divide between those who take (mostly mediocre men) and those who strive against a system stacked against them. I know I'm in the minority in this, but I don't normally like short novels. I like to sit with a set of characters, with a setting, with a set of themes, etc., for a good long time. But in 200 pages, Vlautin manages to construct a novel that feels fully developed, fully realized (and all-too-real), and fully populated with an amazing cast, some of them good, most of them not, but all of them with a little bit of both. He gives these people long nearly unbroken conversations with each other, and then frequently juxtaposes those lines of dialogue with long "soliloquies" where characters expound on everything from their relationships to each to other to their simmering rage about their dreams seemingly being out of reach. The effect is that you just feel amazing close to these people in such short amount of time. It almost feels like a play. This shouldn't work, but it does. I'm being purposefully (and probably annoyingly) vague about the details of the plot. You can read more about that above, but basically, a Portland woman named Lynette pulls out every stop she can imagine to scrape together the money for the down payment on a house. You immediately and unmitigatedly root for Lynette - even as you find out about some of her own past issues. She's as tough as they come, and the 36 hours chronicled in this novel really test her mettle. This book blew me away. I finished it and immediately started texted people I know who have also read it, basically just saying "HOLY SHIT THAT WAS GOOD, RIGHT?!" This is easily the leader in the club house for Greg's Book to Evangelize for in 2021. Amazing.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Olesh

    I don’t understand how I’ve missed this author until now. Such fine writing! This story is about Lynette, who is working three jobs to scrape up the money for a down payment for a house in Portland, OR, while also helping to care for her developmentally disabled brother, Kenny. The novel takes place over just a couple of very intense days. I will not forget this place or these people.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Wow. Okay, so, The Night Always Comes definitely flew by for me. Not only did I get the chance to dive into the wonderful audiobook but the characters and the storyline were just addicting (to me). In it, you will meet Lynette. She is almost in her 30's and is trying everything she can in order to take care of herself and her family. Not sure how she is still standing after working numerous jobs but give this girl a dang me I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Wow. Okay, so, The Night Always Comes definitely flew by for me. Not only did I get the chance to dive into the wonderful audiobook but the characters and the storyline were just addicting (to me). In it, you will meet Lynette. She is almost in her 30's and is trying everything she can in order to take care of herself and her family. Not sure how she is still standing after working numerous jobs but give this girl a dang medal. Hot damn. Other than that, this book was so dark in some parts. It also hurt my heart in others. Lynette constantly had to push herself to prove others wrong. She was a very determined character and I loved her so much for that. She wanted to own a home and she was going to prove her mother wrong. Constantly underestimated but hungry, oh so hungry, for the challenge. Now even though I flew threw this book, I will admit some things were kind of annoying. For example, the repetitiveness throughout the book but in some cases I could see why it happened. While for others I was just like - I get it. We get it. Move on. In the end, this book was so hard to put down (or pause) and I can't wait for it to actually come out so I can buy it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    For those reading now, 2 stars was generous. I struggled through because I felt it was my penance for having read three FIVE stars stories in a row. I’m going to have to go for a run to get this negative energy out of my brain. Suggest: move on.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Thank you Netgalley for this ARC of The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin. I don't know if the author meant for this to be an atmospheric read, but if it is, the atmosphere would be dark, cold, rainy, with the smell of desperation always in the air. This is a story about Lynette, a woman in her early thirties who deeply wants better for her family. Her, her mother, and her handicapped brother have been living hard since day one. Lynette has been working multiple jobs, as well as less savory work Thank you Netgalley for this ARC of The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin. I don't know if the author meant for this to be an atmospheric read, but if it is, the atmosphere would be dark, cold, rainy, with the smell of desperation always in the air. This is a story about Lynette, a woman in her early thirties who deeply wants better for her family. Her, her mother, and her handicapped brother have been living hard since day one. Lynette has been working multiple jobs, as well as less savory work in order to finally have the money to own the home they live in. But her mom seems to be resisting the closer Lynette gets to finally meeting her goal. But her mother underestimates just how far Lynette is willing to go to get the money she needs to secure a better future for her family. First off, this is not an easy read. I could practically feel physically the toll that this hard life took on it's characters. I could feel the constant cold and damp, and the need to scream and cry when despite all of your efforts, you just can't read the finish line. For that reason, I'm glad it wasn't necessarily a long novel, my heart! There was a lot of dialogue in the books, like a lot. All the characters monologue at least once, and it does get redundant. That's probably my only real complaint about the style. Sometimes less is more, especially when it comes to creating tension. I was grateful for a light cocoa powder sprinkle of hope at the end, because hot dang. But it gave me a lot of chew on when it comes to issues of poverty, privilege, crime, and desperation. I saw real issues that we have in this country come to life in a way that is glaring and uncomfortable. But conversations like this aren't comfortable, especially if change is the goal.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    To what measures will we take in the face of desperation? Especially when all we are desperate for is some permanence? The road to achieving stability often begins at the bottom, wherein times call for actions both unthinkable and undesirable. We don’t just step out of our comfort zones in our attempts to stay ahead (or keep up); we enter dangerous ones. Now before you start singing your best Kenny Loggins let me at least try to make my point (or any point, for that matter), which is that we’ll To what measures will we take in the face of desperation? Especially when all we are desperate for is some permanence? The road to achieving stability often begins at the bottom, wherein times call for actions both unthinkable and undesirable. We don’t just step out of our comfort zones in our attempts to stay ahead (or keep up); we enter dangerous ones. Now before you start singing your best Kenny Loggins let me at least try to make my point (or any point, for that matter), which is that we’ll do just about anything in the short term so long as it helps us out in the long run, circumstances be damned. Ever take a job of which you’re wholly overqualified simply because you needed the paycheck? Ever shoplift a piece of food because you couldn’t afford to eat that night? Ever take certain ill-advised drugs to enhance your performance, be it academic or sexual or otherwise? Perhaps you have, or perhaps you’ve never been driven to desperation in any way, shape or form. To which I say, good for you, but I’d argue you’re in the minority. Regardless of economic and/or social stature, or race, or gender, desperation does not discriminate; it impacts seemingly everyone on a variety of levels. I’ve personally established many stabilities in my life, each of which started with desperation. And yet even today, in which I would appear to be the most comfortable phase of my life thus far, I face certain desperate times and take particular measures to resolve them. For many, stability is symbolized by a certain number, or an object, or an absence of a particular debt. It could mean having a million bucks in the bank, a mortgage on the home you own, that final student loan payment in the mail. But it’s how we reach these individual stabilities that say most about our character, our willingness, our drive and despair. How does one get that million bucks? Sign that mortgage? Pay off that lingering debt? Did desperation occur and act as motivator to achieve these stabilities? Or take for instance those in far more undesirable situations that those of folks looking just to build a nest egg or make a home or find a white-collar job. Those who are defined by “living paycheck to paycheck.” Those who find themselves underwater before they even jump in the pool. The starved and struggling. To them, desperation is more than just where they’ve landed; it’s a state of being, one that’s cyclical and ostensibly everlasting. Lynette, the central figure in Willy Vlautin’s dynamic new novel, The Night Always Comes, can’t seem to keep up with her own life and the rapidly changing landscape of her native Portland. As gentrification takes hold and home prices surge, Lynette is stuck working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Yet when the opportunity arises to purchase the home she and her family had been renting, Lynette sees this as their chance at stability – something which neither she or her mother and brother have ever before experienced. As The Night Always Comes opens we learn immediately of the measures Lynette has taken to obtain the necessary funds for purchasing their home. She rises in the dead of night to get to her job at a bakery, oftentimes taking her brother (Kenny, who is developmentally challenged, yet another of Lynette’s tough breaks for she is ultimately the one left caring for him) alongside. She attends community college courses and studies diligently, only to receive average marks. What’s more, she works shifts as a bartender at a local bar, only to head home shortly after to restart the process. It’s dire and dreadful, and for Lynette it’s her everyday reality. Knowing her two jobs can hardly help her to stay afloat let alone save any significant amount of money, Lynette follows the advice of her friend, Gloria, and becomes a high-priced escort. At the onset of the novel, she has eighty thousand dollars saved and is but a week from signing the loan papers for the house. And then her mother, a woman who spends much of her free time on the couch drinking and smoking and eating junk food, gets cold feet and breaks word on their plan, opting instead to buy herself a new car. This unexpected turn of events leaves Lynette scrambling to find the cash her mother would’ve provided. But it’s nothing Lynette isn’t used to. She’s been struggling and hustling since childhood, which we learn through flashbacks from her tumultuous past: as a teen she left home for nearly a year and lived with a drug dealer; her mother’s boyfriend attempted to sexually assault her; she had a mental breakdown and tried killing herself. Suffice to say, Lynette has never had stability and will do anything she can in order to attain it. Now armed with the knowledge of her mother’s renege, Lynette feels her time is running out. So over the course the two nights of which The Night Always Comes takes place, we follow her frenzied search as she faces figures from her past – both distant and immediate – in order to get a hold on her future. Vlautin leads us on this adventure in propulsive fashion with nary a wasted word; each chapter is riveting, brimming with tension and unease. We meet some of Lynette’s Johns, her old boyfriend, an ex-con line cook from her bartending job, a tweaked-out mechanic; they play a significant role in Lynette’s journey towards stability in that each could ruin it in the matter of seconds. But Lynette is stronger than they are, for she’s driven by desperation all the while questioning if the house which she’s attempting to purchase is the end-all, be-all solution she’d always imagined it would be. Such crisis in conscious juxtaposed with the unspeakable acts in which Lynette takes part only adds to the tension Vlautin builds throughout, making The Night Always Comes all but impossible to put down. Questionable life decisions aside you can’t help but root for Lynette, even as she begins to discover the flaws in her own plan. She represents the disenfranchised, the strugglers, the hustlers, the just-enough-to-get-by’ers so often forgotten in society. Moreover, Lynette symbolizes stability and all we do in order to attain it. Many of us are lucky enough in which our own desperate acts seem like child’s play in comparison. And then there are those who, like Lynette, have no other choice than to go the extra mile by taking that extra shift or college course or John, whose solutions seem so mired in hopelessness you question whether there’s any hope left at all. Willy Vlautin certainly has me questioning… and wanting to devour every piece he’s previously written.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I absolutely loved this book. Part of that is because I love Willy Vlautin’s writing, another part is that this book speaks so perfectly to how Portland has changed. It’s like a love letter to the past while still being resigned to the present. I found the character of Lynette so easy to identify with. The reader goes through each of her struggles with her and feels her desperation viscerally. This whole book hit me like a gut punch and I cried at the end—can you ask anything more from a book? It I absolutely loved this book. Part of that is because I love Willy Vlautin’s writing, another part is that this book speaks so perfectly to how Portland has changed. It’s like a love letter to the past while still being resigned to the present. I found the character of Lynette so easy to identify with. The reader goes through each of her struggles with her and feels her desperation viscerally. This whole book hit me like a gut punch and I cried at the end—can you ask anything more from a book? It’s always fun to be in the same city that a book takes place in because you feel like you’re in a secret club—you know those streets, you know those bands, you KNOW that gentrification. But being in Portland is just a bonus—this book will penetrate with other readers in other cities because that is something that Vlautin is so good at—engaging the reader and bringing them into the story. I cannot say enough good stuff about this book. I was over the moon grateful to receive a copy in exchange for a review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    This is a tough, ugly story. This is the unseen underbelly of society. These are the forgotten people, the ones on the fringe, working 2, 3 4 jobs in housing that barely stands driving cars (or taking buses) for hours to get to minimum wage jobs that never, ever, ever cover the bills. Slowly being pushed out of their housing neighborhood by the ever rising prices, this story is of a family barely surviving. At first it was really hard to get in to the story. Then, as each blow landed on Lynette a This is a tough, ugly story. This is the unseen underbelly of society. These are the forgotten people, the ones on the fringe, working 2, 3 4 jobs in housing that barely stands driving cars (or taking buses) for hours to get to minimum wage jobs that never, ever, ever cover the bills. Slowly being pushed out of their housing neighborhood by the ever rising prices, this story is of a family barely surviving. At first it was really hard to get in to the story. Then, as each blow landed on Lynette and she became more desperate, it was just a really sad, depressing story. I liked Lynette's fight and her spunk - she was someone that was tired of getting pushed down, tired of being walked on. Her life was tough and was only getting more difficult with each passing year. But this wasn't a happy story and I'm not sure I'm glad I read it or that I'd recommend it for anyone unless you're ready for this tough of a story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    Having never read anything written by Vlautin, I was interested in the blurp of this book. But when I started it, I was quickly completely engrossed and could not put it down. This is an excellent read and one that I think many people can relate to... what will become of the "salt of the earth" work group in this ever-changing world? I can't recommend this enough. The crush of the working class is exposed through Vlautin's THE NIGHT ALWAYS COMES as thirty-year-old Lynette struggles against the b Having never read anything written by Vlautin, I was interested in the blurp of this book. But when I started it, I was quickly completely engrossed and could not put it down. This is an excellent read and one that I think many people can relate to... what will become of the "salt of the earth" work group in this ever-changing world? I can't recommend this enough. The crush of the working class is exposed through Vlautin's THE NIGHT ALWAYS COMES as thirty-year-old Lynette struggles against the barriers that mark the difference between the economic classes... money, education, and jobs that are way more than minimum wage. AS west coast Portland moves to higher and higher levels of income, it's re gentrification pushes out those who are less fortunate, less educated, and less employable to poorer and further residential locations. Thus, making less than legal employment areas more attractive. Wanting to own her home and provide stability to her life, Lynette has worded two jobs and more to earn the down payment needed for a home loan. She wants to purchase with her mother the rental home she, her mother, and her developmentally challenged brother have shared most of her life. Now when she is close to having the down payment, a princely sum of 80,000.00, her mother is no longer interested. This revolution sends Lynette into a spiral that dregs up old memories, injuries and hurts and opens her up to a dangerous night. This novel sports social conflict and economic struggle as Lynette tries so hard to make those end more than meet, and she has done well... but she was generous and everyone now owes her ... it is the night to collect what is owed. Told in 48 hours, Vlautin has drawn out his characters with extreme care and clarity... some are good and some are just so cold they scare you. These characters work on cars, steal cars, wait on your table and serve you drinks at the bar... some of them are meth and coke heads, some are dangerous and liars. The language and actions are crystal clear and you won't get lost... on this ride where the car doesn't always start and the actions are not always legal... but you can't really fault Lynette because she has to survive. This is a dark, bleak look into what is happening and could happen... I read somewhere that most Americans are just 3 paychecks from homelessness... 4 stars for an excellent read

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Everyone gets in a jam, a corner, maybe now a days more than previous years with this terrible pandemic, but how far will one go, a few kidney punches and one below the belt? Money short, troubles plenty, kin ill health, a carer, and a father not present. The author focus is on thirty year old Lynette out of Portland Oregan, her heart at battle with all the failures, ill health and short of monies, avenues ventured to break out of the prism of life before her with a series of events unraveling, li Everyone gets in a jam, a corner, maybe now a days more than previous years with this terrible pandemic, but how far will one go, a few kidney punches and one below the belt? Money short, troubles plenty, kin ill health, a carer, and a father not present. The author focus is on thirty year old Lynette out of Portland Oregan, her heart at battle with all the failures, ill health and short of monies, avenues ventured to break out of the prism of life before her with a series of events unraveling, life changing matters awaits her, and empathy for her lasting memorable character forged, one that could be striped from many real scenarios of denizens of the planet earth. Life of chances and decisions and that one step on that pursuit in happiness when dreams gone askew and one seems in a corner, a life becomes re-examined, and revitalization needed. Willy Vlautin did it again flowing forward in storytelling lucidness and great characters, he did it before with Don’t Skip Out on Me and Lean On Pete, with memorable heart companions on the page another little treat of a human struggle, against the odds and histories. “He was thirty-two years old and gaining more weight each year. His body had become a pear. He was five feet ten inches tall and waddled when he walked. He had thinning brown hair and a growing bald spot on the crown of his head. He had monthly seizures and couldn’t talk but for the sounds that came out almost like words. The doctors said that he had the mind of a three-year-old. Sometimes that seemed too low and other times too high.” Review also at my infamous webpage https://www.more2read.com/review/the-night-always-comes-by-willy-vlautin/

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brett Benner

    Lynette lives with her mother and mentally disabled brother in a poorer Portland suburb that is slowly grinding towards gentrification. For years she’s been working multiple jobs, getting up at 3:30 in the morning to start her day at a bakery and ending it into the evening working as a bartender. The hope, the dream is that with her mother they can buy the home they’re living in and secure a future for themselves, a tiny piece of the American dream. But when her mother suddenly backs out of the Lynette lives with her mother and mentally disabled brother in a poorer Portland suburb that is slowly grinding towards gentrification. For years she’s been working multiple jobs, getting up at 3:30 in the morning to start her day at a bakery and ending it into the evening working as a bartender. The hope, the dream is that with her mother they can buy the home they’re living in and secure a future for themselves, a tiny piece of the American dream. But when her mother suddenly backs out of the plan Lynette’s world spirals and over the course of forty eight hours we are witness to a feral dog hell bent on survival at all costs. At just slightly over two hundred pages this is a twelve car pile up on the freeway that you can’t turn away from as you stare in horror. Author Willy Vlautin spends great chunks of the book in monologues between characters that feel primed and ready to be performed on stage, violence curling at the edge of this threadbare desperation. This is the America we hear about, but many rarely really know. This is the America numbed by drugs, where sex is currency, and a fist communicates faster than a tongue. My heart hurt for Lynette who is described in one of the books few true tender moments: “If I had a daughter, I always thought I’d want her to be like you” “Like me?” Lynette said and then whispered, “But I’m no good at all. I’ve done a lot of bad things, Shirley.” “Not really you haven’t. Not to me. See. The thing is, you never give up and you’ve got a good heart, a damaged heart, but a good heart, and you want to do good. Most people don’t care about doing good. Most people just push you out of the way and grab what they want.” I found this extremely well written, but straight up it’s a brutal story that lays bare the widening gap in this country between the haves and have nots. There’s a relief in being able to close this upon finishing and feel a sense of hope for Lynette who for all her faults and history is trying to better herself against what seems like insurmountable odds. For many real life Lynette’s there isn’t that same optimism. Big thanks to @harpercollins for the advance copy. Back to back books published by them have been two of my favorites this year so far.

  21. 4 out of 5

    jeremy

    there's a lot of hard living and gritty realism in willy vlautin's fiction. like a literary nephew of john steinbeck or eugene o'neill, the oregon author seeds his stories with plenty of pathos and lives forlorn. the night always comes, vlautin's sixth novel, is the moving tale of a young woman yearning to escape to something better—and the toll (physical, emotional, and financial) such daring dreams invariably exact. one more chapter in the living history of the decline and fall of the american there's a lot of hard living and gritty realism in willy vlautin's fiction. like a literary nephew of john steinbeck or eugene o'neill, the oregon author seeds his stories with plenty of pathos and lives forlorn. the night always comes, vlautin's sixth novel, is the moving tale of a young woman yearning to escape to something better—and the toll (physical, emotional, and financial) such daring dreams invariably exact. one more chapter in the living history of the decline and fall of the american empire. the people who are remembered are the ones taking. people arrive somewhere and try to get their piece. they don't care who they hurt doing it, they really don't, and i'm starting to understand why. because it's all bullshit. the land of the free and that whole crock of shit. it's just men taking what they want and justifying it any way they need to so they can get up in the morning and take more and buy another speedboat and their third vacation home and their fifth rental property and then push people out of their homes so they can make more money and go on safaris and kill giraffes and elephants all while everyone else is just trying to pay off their credit-card bill or student loan or trying to get enough hours at one job so they don't have to get a second. 3.5 stars

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laurie's Lit Picks

    This short lil book, at merely 208 pages, packs a punch. A huuuuuuge punch. A punch to the gut, the heart, the brain. It covers just one night in Portland, Oregon, as Lynette tries to solve the problem of how to buy her own home, and change her life around. Throw in some incredible peripheral characters (her mentally disabled brother, her distant mother, pummeled by life and her past decisions, a prostitute, a drug dealer, a creeper, a bartender), mix in memories of the past dealing with mental This short lil book, at merely 208 pages, packs a punch. A huuuuuuge punch. A punch to the gut, the heart, the brain. It covers just one night in Portland, Oregon, as Lynette tries to solve the problem of how to buy her own home, and change her life around. Throw in some incredible peripheral characters (her mentally disabled brother, her distant mother, pummeled by life and her past decisions, a prostitute, a drug dealer, a creeper, a bartender), mix in memories of the past dealing with mental illness, and then sprinkle on top the societal issues of today including the illusiveness of home ownership, the lack of support for the working class, the gentrification found in mid-size cities, and you've got one humdinger of a novel. I could not put this book down. Is it depressing as hell? You bet. Is it real, authentic, brutally honesty? Absolutely. The only way to raise our empathy is to try and crawl into someone else's life and roll around in it, even for just one night. Vlautin allows us to do just that. This is a book that will haunt me for some time.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Deena B

    THE NIGHT ALWAYS COMES by Willy Vlautin I could not put this book down, I did not want it to end. It is a short(ish) story but it sure packs a wallop!! Dark, gritty, heartbreaking, desperate, hopeful and hopeless. The dialogue is perfect. One of the best books I've ever read, my first from author Willy Vlautin and it won't be my last! Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways, Harper, and the author for this book I WON! THE NIGHT ALWAYS COMES by Willy Vlautin I could not put this book down, I did not want it to end. It is a short(ish) story but it sure packs a wallop!! Dark, gritty, heartbreaking, desperate, hopeful and hopeless. The dialogue is perfect. One of the best books I've ever read, my first from author Willy Vlautin and it won't be my last! Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways, Harper, and the author for this book I WON!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christa Musto

    Special thank you to Willy Vlautin and NetGalley for providing a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. Lynette seems stuck in a rut: working two jobs, taking classes at the community college, and looking after her special needs brother, Kenny. The Night Always Comes is a story about struggling with past demons, working intensely to overcome them, and anticipating a fruitful future. Vlautin’s writing drew me in from the first chapter. The structure of this book is one of the best I have c Special thank you to Willy Vlautin and NetGalley for providing a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. Lynette seems stuck in a rut: working two jobs, taking classes at the community college, and looking after her special needs brother, Kenny. The Night Always Comes is a story about struggling with past demons, working intensely to overcome them, and anticipating a fruitful future. Vlautin’s writing drew me in from the first chapter. The structure of this book is one of the best I have come across. In anticipation of starting a better life, Lynette pays visits to many individuals who owe her. These visits bring up tales of her past, a look into the experiences that shaped Lynette today. Amazing read, one of the best fiction books I have read in a while. Vlautin hit the nail on the head with this, and I have nothing but positive feelings for this book. It took two sittings to read because I could not stop thinking about the characters and where the story would take them. To me, a book that leaves you wondering about the characters throughout the day is a 5 star book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    John Owen

    This is a story about a young woman who is having a difficult time surviving financially and otherwise. I almost stop reading this at one point because it was depressing to read but Vlautin made me want to see what happened next. This is about (mostly) good people who are having a hard time making it. The character descriptions are fascinating. Vlautin knows these people and he knows which details to reveal to his readers. Willy Vlautin never disappoints.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I did finish it and gave it 1 star less than my original 2 stars !! I DNF @ 70% I just couldn't listen anymore and I just didn't care anymore how it ended. I guess I am in the minority here because I was so bored with this boring bleak story. I mean honestly what was so wonderful about a woman that decides to go face all her demons in one night ??? I know she was trying to get all the $ she could but honestly this was just dumb. She had 80k in the bank what was a few more thousand going to do for I did finish it and gave it 1 star less than my original 2 stars !! I DNF @ 70% I just couldn't listen anymore and I just didn't care anymore how it ended. I guess I am in the minority here because I was so bored with this boring bleak story. I mean honestly what was so wonderful about a woman that decides to go face all her demons in one night ??? I know she was trying to get all the $ she could but honestly this was just dumb. She had 80k in the bank what was a few more thousand going to do for her?? absolutely nothing! (

  27. 5 out of 5

    Callum McLaughlin

    A compulsively readable, unflinching look at the dark side of gentrification. Full review posted at BookBrowse: https://www.bookbrowse.com/mag/review... A compulsively readable, unflinching look at the dark side of gentrification. Full review posted at BookBrowse: https://www.bookbrowse.com/mag/review...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    For some reading this book it might play out as a shocker but for those living in extreme poverty like myself it's a matter of survival. To get out of poverty you must sell your soul to the devil and it's one reason why many of us haven't gone to that extent-the criminal/dark/depressed/desperate side. Lynette knows this may be her only way-to put up or shut up-to hit up Johns, to give out free drinks at the bar where she works, to provide sex for money. Non of the above will get you out of the pred For some reading this book it might play out as a shocker but for those living in extreme poverty like myself it's a matter of survival. To get out of poverty you must sell your soul to the devil and it's one reason why many of us haven't gone to that extent-the criminal/dark/depressed/desperate side. Lynette knows this may be her only way-to put up or shut up-to hit up Johns, to give out free drinks at the bar where she works, to provide sex for money. Non of the above will get you out of the predicament because the system is geared for the wealthy not the poor. The author notes several references to the broken health care system, voting rights, and politicians whose sole purpose is to get re-elected not caring about the constituents they serve. What becomes of the homeless in Portland? Why aren't they seeking a better way- a job? Well, that's easy to explain having lived it myself with a dual masters and over 20 yrs. of volunteering behind me. It's as Lynette notes, “No one wants to hire a worn-out, middle-aged fatso.” Surely, not one that is trying to help tend to her families needs including a brother on disability. We can't earn enough on below poverty wages to get out of poverty and since we do receive medical, dental, vision, housing, food stamps (ebt), financial aid for school, etc... how can we escape it to hold ourselves to a higher standard when we can't get enough income under ourselves to raise ourselves out? People think higher education is the key. I'm here as your example it is not! I have a dual masters with all the accolades (honor societies, dean's lists, honor's lists, etc.) yet, I can't get hired for past 10 years. You would think it's something I'm not doing right? It's because the world is set to hire the young and able bodied who are willing to work for free, w/o benefits, and w/o the need to support themselves as many are still residing at home. These employers know that we'll ask to be paid what we're worth especially when we're left with debt from student loans, divorces, medical costs, etc. Yes, I too had 30k in medical debt and was bombarded by collection agencies to pay up after I put everything I could afford per month (1k) on credit cards. It wasn't enough as the greed and corruption of these monopolies rides above the empathy, compassion, and concern for human beings. I settled with the collection agency to pay (1oo a month) which was what I could afford out of pocket monthly rather than give them 1k a month on credit and they accepted. Now, you tell me does this make sense to you? The world we live in today is a much different world than what our parents or grandparents were subjected too. It's a cut throat -dog-eat-dog world in which to get ahead you must be equally as greedy, ruthless, and heartless with narcissistic tendencies and toxic behaviors. I for one refused to sell my soul to the devil. I refused to listen to the nay-sayers who said go out and get a job. I refused to live a life of crime or destruction in order to appease the masses. Say what you will but you can't please them all. It's sad when poverty pays more than working. The working poor are simply working themselves to death with multiple jobs to get nowhere. Don't believe me: Pennsylvania pays $6.53 hour more than working full time. https://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/st... As a top producer and associate of the month working in a factory for $7.25 hr doing 2-400 units per hour, I was treated like a dog, no breaks, no bathrooms, no benefits, no full time pay for full time hours. When a 50 lb trolley fell from the second floor and hit me on my head-busting my head open-bleeding on the floor-my manager did nothing. No calls to get me medical treatment. It was a manager from a different department that assisted me off the floor and wiped the blood off my face when nobody would touch me. I had to go to the hospital. I couldn't sue due to Osha laws and the company having multiple lawyers. I wasn't injured enough to be paid a dime. I now suffer from that horrendous working lifestyle including severe spinal stenosis, severe anemia, copd, asthma, chronic bronchitis (diesel fumes from factory near loading dock), vertigo, raynaud's in right thumb with zero blood flow in that finger, ganglion cysts in right wrist (repetitive movement), hus (fatal blood disorder), pre-diabetes, and this is to name just a few. This is the world we live in and they wonder why we won't go back to this lifestyle. I was seventeen when this happened and I'm now 47 with three kids to support as a single mom and now with multiple heath issues. If I was paid living wages I'd run out tomorrow and work around the clock but it's not happening now nor ever as I see it after ten years of job hunting as long term unemployed homemaker. I feel sorry for others caught in this web of poverty because it's difficult when you're left bankrupt, homeless, and w/o a job to support oneself with zero savings or credit to get re-established in a work force you gave up twenty years earlier to raise your family. I pray those who are struggling find peace and find a way to stay strong and maintain their mental and physical health. It's depressing, it's sad, it's humiliating to have to live this way when you have so much talent and expertise but it's who you know and not what you know that matters most. God bless!

  29. 5 out of 5

    lisa

    I was once asked to attend a play written by a friend of a friend's girlfriend. I don't remember what the play was about exactly, I just remember that it only consisted of every character giving long monologues to the audience with the spotlight focused on them, while the other characters stood nearby and tried to look interested. Reading this book felt like sitting through that play. I have never read anything by this author, and I'm not sure what to think of him. On the one hand the story is c I was once asked to attend a play written by a friend of a friend's girlfriend. I don't remember what the play was about exactly, I just remember that it only consisted of every character giving long monologues to the audience with the spotlight focused on them, while the other characters stood nearby and tried to look interested. Reading this book felt like sitting through that play. I have never read anything by this author, and I'm not sure what to think of him. On the one hand the story is compelling, and the basic plot is sympathetic. Lynette is a woman of working class roots, whose parents have worked all their lives for not much money, and who also works long hours at multiple jobs to keep a roof over the heads of her mother, and her disabled brother. She is bound and determined to buy the house her mother has rented for years before the current owner lists it on Portland Oregon's rapidly rising housing market. By owning a piece of Portland real estate, no matter how junky and falling apart it is, Lynette believes she can start to rise above the hand to mouth existence she has been trapped in her whole life. This is fully relatable, and Willy Vlautin does a beautiful job of portraying the people of Portland who lived in the city before it went on a gentrification nightmare, and the old places they once lived and worked at disappeared. Their Portland is not the shiny new hipster paradise that is pricing nearly everyone out of the market, but a darker, grittier city, no less beloved by its original residents. The book follows Lynette over a long night of trying to chase down every old debt she's owed in the manic hope of pulling together enough money to qualify for a housing loan, and there were plenty of scenes that were exciting and gripping. There were several times when I breathed a sigh of relief that Lynette had managed to wiggle her way out of danger by the skin of her teeth, and many times when I felt full sympathy for her as she willingly fights to the death for a few more dollars to add to her nest egg. On the other hand, the overall story is so awkwardly told. It probably would have worked better as a character study of Lynette, and we do get plenty of her backstory, but it's mostly told through the excruciating monologues I referred to earlier. As soon as any character draws breath, I could see that spotlight turn on over their heads, and I could see them earnestly move around a stage, giving false gestures and pausing to stare off into space while the other characters waited for their cue to speak their lines. The monologues all seemed the same too, a lot of, "You think I did you wrong, but I did what I could, and I'm not sorry for my choices." Over and over again. Through these endless monologues we get surface information about Lynette, but nothing that really makes her desires and motivations clear. By the end of the book there is a picture of Lynette, and I give the author a lot of credit for making her complex enough that I had changed my mind about my first impressions of her. I felt very sympathetic towards her at first but after hearing one speech after another about what a mean person she was, and how badly she treated people I started to change my mind. Again, I don't know whether the people giving these speeches were right because I couldn't tell from Lynette's speeches back to them who I should believe, but it did seem every character was on the same page about how mean Lynette was. Lynette obviously had problems with untreated depression, and had been through some traumatic stuff, but the idea of her being mean and cruel did make it harder to be completely on her side. Looking at the book through the view of the monologues makes this a two star read, but looking at the slow development of Lynette's life, and the quick, exciting pace of the book, and the sense of place makes this a four star read. Call it three stars, but I would probably lean a little harder toward the four stars. But boy, oh boy do we need to raise wages and prioritize affordable housing in this country.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Wow. This book was dark and difficult to read, but so, so important - one that captures the struggle of so many everyday Americans who fight to just eke out a living. Lynnette, our protagonist, is an almost thirty-year-old woman who has been working until she is beat-down exhausted for three years - because in a life where she'd had so many bad breaks, so many horrible things happen to her, her family finally has an opportunity. She lives with her mom, an obese woman who works at a Fred Meyer, a Wow. This book was dark and difficult to read, but so, so important - one that captures the struggle of so many everyday Americans who fight to just eke out a living. Lynnette, our protagonist, is an almost thirty-year-old woman who has been working until she is beat-down exhausted for three years - because in a life where she'd had so many bad breaks, so many horrible things happen to her, her family finally has an opportunity. She lives with her mom, an obese woman who works at a Fred Meyer, and her older brother, who has a mental disability. After years of paying rent on a falling-apart house outside of Portland, their landlord is giving them a good deal to buy it. Lynnette has dreams of finally owning something, renovating it and making something out of it, and selling it to all of the hungry real estate developers who want to buy things in the area for a profit. Then, finally, her family will not have to struggle as they do constantly. But as soon as Lynnette is on the verge of making it happen - contingent upon her mom getting a loan for $200k, her mom backs out. She says that Lynnette has been nothing but trouble for her - when she was younger, she had severe depression and anger issues, constantly lashing out at her mom in hurtful and violent ways, running away, and even trying to take her own life. Lynnette's mom is exhausted. And after sacrificing so much for her children, she doesn't want to be shackled to a loan and this awful house with so many bad memories for the rest of her life. Lynnette tries to tell her that she's been in therapy for years, she hasn't had an outburst in so long and prides herself on that, and that this is their first real chance to have something for themselves. But her mom doesn't budge. The book takes place over two nights and two days, following Lynnette trying to scrape together as much money as she can to convince her mom to go through with buying the house. Lynnette is such a strong character - she's understated, smart, tenacious, and responsible. She knows that she's messed up a lot of things in her life - she takes full responsibility for everything, even though a lot of it has been out of her control. Throughout the book, you see her get beaten down time and time again, but get back up, dust herself off, and keep going. Part of it is that she doesn't have a choice - if she gives up, what will her brother do? What will her mom do? But part of it is that she's learned she needs to fight for herself. She's finally gotten herself on a good track, and it would be so easy to lose it all. The only criticism - a minor one - that I have about this book is that, when you learn Lynnette's backstory, it's through a lot of telling, not showing. Some of the characters will go on long rants that explain huge chunks of Lynnette's life, yes, through their own lens, but in a narrative format. I can't really fault the author for doing this, as the book is quite short, and he needed to pack in as much story as possible into a few pages. As hard as this was to listen to, Lynnette's and her family's struggles are emblematic of how hard it is for every day working people in the US right now - keeping your head down and working a job will not pay off in the end, as the American Dream story tries to tell you. Lynnette's mom argues that it's better to be on the street, where you can get free healthcare and live by your own rules, rather than being a slave to a minimum wage job, working your ass off, having to pay for everything on your own, and still struggling to get by on a day to day basis. Thank you to the publisher for an ARC of the audiobook via Netgalley.

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