The Night Always Comes: Lonely times and hardscrabble lives

Book review: Willy Vlautin follows the story of Lynette, who embarks on a night-town odyssey, imbuing the novel with the noirish urgency of a page-turning thriller

Willy Vlautin brings an eye for detail and knack for the telling phrase to his prose fiction.

Willy Vlautin brings an eye for detail and knack for the telling phrase to his prose fiction.

Willy Vlautin’s protagonists have a harder time than most. Over the trajectory of his five previous novels, from the Flanagan brothers on the run in his 2006 debut The Motel Life, to lonely ranch hand-come-aspirant boxer Horace Hopper in 2018’s Don’t Skip Out On Me, the world wasn’t exactly made for these marginalised characters.

Now we have Lynette, a pastry chef/bartender/escort/part-time community college accountancy student from Portland, Oregon, who is cast from a similarly self-sabotaging mould. (Although it can be argued that it is a mercilessly acquisitive societal system which keeps all of them in an endless cycle of hand-to-
mouth alienation as much as it is the consequence of personal misfortune or individual psychology.) 

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