“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?
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“I can’t remember the last time I worried myself sick about a fictional character the way I did about Lynette in Willy Vlautin’s terrific, big-hearted new novel The Night Always Comes. You won’t soon forget either her or the fraught world she so courageously navigates.”
Richard Russo, New York Times bestselling author
“An intense story about gentrification.”
— Washington Post
“This gritty page-turner sings with pitch-perfect prose…Brilliant.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The story resonates, with characters we come to feel we know and dialogue that is so natural we hear it, not just read it…This is literary art that will keep readers in their seats until the last page.”
— Library Journal (starred review)
“[A] revelation—both epic and timely, intimate and clear-eyed. Only Vlautin could cross the harrowing emotional richness of A Woman under the Influence with the breakneck desperation of the greatest of film noir.”
— Megan Abbott, author of You Will Know Me
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About Willy Vlautin
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.
About Christine Lakin
Christine Lakin is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and acclaimed television actress, best known for her roles as Alicia “Al” Lambert on the hit family comedy Step by Step and as Joan of Arc on Showtime’s Reefer Madness.