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The Free (P.S.)

by

The Free (P.S.) Cover

ISBN13: 9780062276742
ISBN10: 0062276743
All Product Details

 

Staff Pick

In The Free, the shattered dreams of a suicidal vet, a family man without a family, and a helper unable to help collide, and what is left is... hope, humanity, and a whole lot of heart! Vlautin's latest is soulful, uplifting, and, in the end, beautiful.
Recommended by Martin, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Award-winning author of The Motel Life, Northline and Lean on Pete, Willy Vlautin demonstrates his extraordinary talent for confronting issues facing modern America, illuminated through the lives of three memorable characters who are looking for a way out of their financial, familial, and existential crises in The Free.

While serving in Iraq, veteran Leroy Kervin suffered a traumatic brain injury. Frustrated by the simplest daily routines, and unable to form new memories, he eventually attempts suicide. Lying in a coma, he retreats deep inside the memories locked in his mind. Freddie McCall works two jobs and 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 is a nurse at the local hospital. Though she attends to others' needs with practical yet firm kindness, including her mentally ill elderly father, she remains emotionally removed. But a new patient, a young runaway, touches something deep and unexpected inside her.

The lives of these characters intersect as they look for meaning in desperate times. Heartbreaking and hopeful, The Free is a testament to the resiliency of the human heart. The Free also includes a P.S. Section (additional material in the back of the book) with interviews, insights, and more about the author. Vlautin is the founder of the alternative country band Richmond Fontaine and his debut novel, The Motel Life, has been made into a film starring Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Dakota Fanning, and Kris Kristofferson.

Review:

“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, author of The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

Review:

“Willy Vlautin writes novels about people all alone in the wind. His prose is direct and complex in its simplicity, and his stories are sturdy and bighearted and full of lives so shattered they shimmer.” Cheryl Strayed, The Oregonian

Review:

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, author of The Sister Brothers

Review:

“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

Review:

“This strong fourth novel from Portland singer/songwriter and author Vlautin (The Motel Life) follows three protagonists who find the strength to make the best of difficult situations….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

Review:

The Free is another outstanding book from one of America's most underappreciated artists.” George Pelecanos

Review:

“[A] story of our times — about the lack of work, the cost of health insurance, the demonizing of war and the damage to life in the working class. Vlautin writes cleanly, beautifully about the people who hang on despite odds... A fine novel...bounded by courage and kindliness.” Kirkus Reviews

Review:

“Willy Vlautin is one of the bravest novelists writing....An unsentimental Steinbeck, a heartbroken Haruf, Willy Vlautin tells us who really lives now in our America, our city in ruins.” Ursula K. Le Guin

Synopsis:

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.

Video

About the Author

Willy Vlautin is the author of The Motel Life, Northline, and Lean on Pete, and the singer and songwriter of the band Richmond Fontaine. He lives outside Portland, Oregon.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Jester, June 26, 2014 (view all comments by Jester)
The Free is a seemingly effortless work about folks we all know, or are, trying to survive these days, paycheck to paycheck. It's the first piece of fiction in a long, long time to make my eyes well up.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Joanne Haley, March 18, 2014 (view all comments by Joanne Haley)
I thoroughly enjoyed this most recent book by local author who actually lives in my town of Scappoose!!! This book built around the lives of people going through hard times draws the reader in to the point where you feel like you've known these characters a long time! Vlautin writes of the real life struggles people go through and what events in their lives make them who they are. Even though though many things they come up against are depressing and hard to read about he shows the silver linings that will shine through if we look for them! Lean On Pete is equally as wonderful a book and I can't wait to read his other two books.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
tawnya, February 21, 2014 (view all comments by tawnya)
The characters in this book are heartbreaking. The trials they endure are so real and can happen to any of us. Because these folks are so downtrodden, you might think they would be bitter. Instead, they are hopeful and caring, willing to help out those around them. Read this book, it is an uplifting story of how the human spirit can stay strong, even in bad times.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780062276742
Author:
Vlautin, Willy
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20140204
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8 x 5.3125 x 0.720721 in 10.4 oz

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Staff Favorites
Featured Titles » Staff Picks
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Literature Folklore and Memoirs

The Free (P.S.) New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.99 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780062276742 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

In The Free, the shattered dreams of a suicidal vet, a family man without a family, and a helper unable to help collide, and what is left is... hope, humanity, and a whole lot of heart! Vlautin's latest is soulful, uplifting, and, in the end, beautiful.

"Review" by , “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.”
"Review" by , “Willy Vlautin writes novels about people all alone in the wind. His prose is direct and complex in its simplicity, and his stories are sturdy and bighearted and full of lives so shattered they shimmer.”
"Review" by , 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.”
"Review" by , “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.”
"Review" by , “This strong fourth novel from Portland singer/songwriter and author Vlautin (The Motel Life) follows three protagonists who find the strength to make the best of difficult situations….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.”
"Review" by , The Free is another outstanding book from one of America's most underappreciated artists.”
"Review" by , “[A] story of our times — about the lack of work, the cost of health insurance, the demonizing of war and the damage to life in the working class. Vlautin writes cleanly, beautifully about the people who hang on despite odds... A fine novel...bounded by courage and kindliness.”
"Review" by , “Willy Vlautin is one of the bravest novelists writing....An unsentimental Steinbeck, a heartbroken Haruf, Willy Vlautin tells us who really lives now in our America, our city in ruins.”
"Synopsis" by , 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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