Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Willy Vlautin's 'Northline'

We've previously recommended Willy Vlautin's outstanding novel Lean on Pete (just out in paperback here). His earlier novel Northline (2008) shares many of the same qualities: this time the central figure is not a teenage boy but the vulnerable and pregnant Allison Johnson, who needs to escape from her abusive boyfriend Jimmy. She leaves Las Vegas and tries to start again in Reno. In Lean on Pete, Charley Thompson found solace in horses; in Northline, Allison turns to an imagined Paul Newman. This is a third-person narrative, so we don't get the immediate voice of the central character as we do in the later novel. But it shares with it consistently superb writing and a generosity about the possibilities of human nature.

Finally, click here for a spoken word short story, narrated by Vlautin himself, called 'A Motorcycle for a Horse.'

No comments: