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The Free: A Novel Audiobook, by Willy Vlautin Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Willy Vlautin Narrator: Willy Vlautin Publisher: HarperAudio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2014 ISBN: 9780062319388
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In his heartbreaking yet hopeful fourth novel, award-winning author Willy Vlautin demonstrates his extraordinary talent for illuminating the disquiet of modern American life, captured in the experiences of three memorable characters looking for meaning in distressing times.

Severely wounded in the Iraq war, Leroy Kervin has lived in a group home for eight years. Frustrated by the simplest daily routines, he finds his existence has become unbearable. An act of desperation helps him disappear deep into his mind, into a world of romance and science fiction, danger and adventure where he is whole once again.

Freddie McCall, the night man at Leroy's group home, works two jobs yet still can't make ends meet. He's lost his wife and kids, and the house is next. Medical bills have buried him in debt, a situation that propels him to consider a lucrative—and dangerous—proposition.

Pauline Hawkins, a nurse, cares for the sick and wounded, including Leroy. She also looks after her mentally ill elderly father. Yet she remains emotionally removed, until she meets a young runaway who touches something deep and unexpected inside her.

In crystalline prose, both beautiful and devastating, this "major realist talent" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) considers the issues transforming ordinary people's lives—the cost of health care, the lack of economic opportunity, the devastating scars of war—creating an extraordinary contemporary portrait that is also a testament to the resiliency of the human heart.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In The Free, Willy Vlautin gives us a portrait of American life that is so hard and so heartbreaking that it should be unbearable, but it isn’t. The straightforward beauty of Vlautin’s writing, and the tender care he shows his characters, turns a story of struggle into indispensable reading. I couldn’t recommend it more highly.”

    Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Another outstanding book from one of America’s most underappreciated artists.”

    George Pelecanos, New York Times bestselling author of What It Was

  • The Free is a graceful portrayal of an underrepresented side of American life. Willy Vlautin never overreaches, or takes the easy road, and his words have the heft of permanence.”

    Patrick deWitt, New York Times bestselling author of The Sisters Brothers

  • “Courageous, powerful, and mercifully refreshing, The Free is nothing less than an affirmation, that rare novel about lost souls which dares to be hopeful in the face of despair. Vlautin’s hard-knock characters will break your heart with their humanity and grace.”

    Jonathan Evison, New York Times bestselling author of West of Here

  • “Strong…Despite the grim trajectory of Leroy’s story, Pauline and Freddie’s innate decency adds a refreshingly positive note to Vlautin’s character-driven novel.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Vlautin writes cleanly, beautifully about the people who hang on despite odds. This is a fine novel, grim but bounded by courage and kindliness.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Willy Vlautin has delivered a fiercely relevant novel that manages to be both admirably big-hearted and bravely unsentimental. Vlautin is one of our country’s best writers, and this is his best novel.”

    Adam Langer, author of Crossing California and The Thieves of Manhattan

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice

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About the Author

Willy Vlautin is the author of several novels, including Lean on Pete, winner of two Oregon Book Awards; Don’t Skip Out on Me, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner award; and The Motel Life, which has been made into a movie starring Dakota Fanning, Emile Hersh, and Stephen Dorff. He is the singer and songwriter of the band Richmond Fontaine and a member of the band The Delines.