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The Motel Life: A Novel (P.S.)


The Motel Life: A Novel (P.S.) Cover


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Average customer rating based on 9 comments:

Dawn O, May 28, 2013 (view all comments by Dawn O)
This was the third Willy Vlautin novel I've read, though it was the first he published. I like his style - "Lean on Pete" was the one that drew me in. "The Motel Life" was so straightforwardly written and heartfelt; I'd say "simple" and it is, but there a depth underneath the simplicity that's anything but simple - more like an ache. I appreciate the way Vlautin never resorts to gimmicks or stylistic contrivances. There's an integrity and humility here that, ironically, brings the book to a higher level. Very moving. And there were even drawings at the head of every chapter - which were organic to the characters.
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Christopher McLaughlin, August 31, 2012 (view all comments by Christopher McLaughlin)
If you haven't yet experienced a Willy Vlautin book, you are in for a real treat. Willy has been rightly compared to greats like John Steinbeck and Raymond Carver for his depiction of characters on society's fringes. What isn't stressed enough is his deft, light touch that gives even the bleakest subject matter hope and sweetness. Vlautin brings this light touch to 'The Motel Life', and I can't recommend it enough. If you enjoy his books, I would also recommend his band, Richmond Fontaine, for which he is the principal singer and songwriter. Enjoy!
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jjohnk, November 6, 2010 (view all comments by jjohnk)
This novel reads like a delta blues song. Haunting and beautiful, it sucks you in and the first paragraph. It sits you down and says "listen. hear. feel." Put the words to a guitar tune and you got yourself a hit. Loved it.
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(24 of 49 readers found this comment helpful)
William Kennedy, October 9, 2010 (view all comments by William Kennedy)
Author Willy Vlautin is best known as the singer, guitarist and songwriter for the the Portland, OR based al-country band "Richmond Fontaine." His songs are stories of people both real and imagined, most often down and depressed and just trying to get by.

His debut novel is essentially an extended version of his song lyrics, the same hopeless wrecks haunt this book, but we feel somehow that we know them and want to see them succeed.

We meet Frank and Jerry Lee Flannigan, down on theirluck brothers who can't seem to catch a break. After an accident involving a young man on a bike, the brothers take off on the run...from the law, their past, maybe even themselves.

From this simple plot Vlautin chooses to focus on the relationship of Frank and Jerry Lee and chronicles their wanderings with spare prose. You can sense that their journey is leading them somewhere dark, somewhere they don't want to go, but you can only hope that they'll be okay once they get there.

The book starts off right away without any set up, dropping you into the middle of a story already in progress. You come to know and love the Flannigan brothers...they're good kids that bad things keep happening to. You'll probably see someone you know in them, or maybe even a little of yourself.

I read this novel after it was first released and I've read it three times since, it's become like an old friend, someone I look to when I'm feeling down. And after reading the book again, I don't feel quite so bad.
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jadelin, August 22, 2010 (view all comments by jadelin)
This is a story about the underbelly of American life. Centered around the lives of two brothers whose luck cannot be worse than anyone I've ever heard of, The Motel Life is a series of dialogues and tales of life on the run. It is gritty and at many times, very sad. However, the hope that was also displayed in Lean on Pete surfaces and the reader is left with a sense that despite being handed a lifetime of crumbs, there are those who survive on their inner strength.
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(28 of 56 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

A Novel
Vlautin, Willy
by Willy Vlautin
D'Souza, Tony
Harper Perennial
United states
General Fiction
Road fiction
Brothers - United States
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 x 5.31 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books

The Motel Life: A Novel (P.S.) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780061171116 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Vlautin is a natural. He's managed to craft a debut novel that is funny, sad, uplifting, and honest, in a voice that seems effortless and yet leaves room for both the imagination of the reader and the growth of the writer. Vlautin is the kind of author you fall in love with, the kind you know you'll be reading for the rest of your life.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Two brothers run from Reno to a snowy Oregon and back to Nevada after a hit-and-run accident. Vlautin creates a short, enjoyable, sad, and humorous tale that got me hooked on his novels. The Motel Life is the perfect read for something simple yet very well written.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In a gritty debut, Vlautin explores a few weeks in the broken lives of two working-class brothers, Frank and Jerry Lee Flannigan, who abruptly ditch their Reno motel after Jerry Lee drunkenly kills a boy on a bicycle in a hit-and-run. The two are case studies in hard luck: their mother died when they were 14 and 16, respectively; their father is an ex-con deadbeat; neither finished high school. Frank has had just one girlfriend, motel neighbor Annie, whose mother is an abusive prostitute. An innocent simpleton, Jerry Lee is left feeling suicidal after the accident, despite his younger brother's efforts ( la Of Mice and Men's Lenny and George) to console him: 'It was real quiet, the way he cried,' says Frank, 'like he was whimpering.' On returning to Reno, an eventual reckoning awaits them. Vlautin's coiled, poetically matter-of-fact prose calls to mind S.E. Hinton — a writer well-acquainted with male misfit protagonists seeking redemption, no matter how destructive. Despite the bleak story and its inevitably tragic ending, Vlautin, who plays in the alt-country band Richmond Fontaine, transmits a quiet sense of resilience and hopefulness." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "This guy writes like the secret love child of Raymond Carver and Flannery O'Connor β€” just plain, true, tough, irony-free, heartrending American fiction about people living in the third-world sections of our country. It's a book that makes you feel like you've been shot but will probably recover."
"Review" by , "Full of tenderness, and truth and life. I haven't read a novel this good in a long, long time."
"Review" by , "The Motel Life is that rare beast: a book with the cadence of an old, well-loved song. Sad, haunting, and strangely beautiful."
"Review" by , "A brilliant read-in-one-sitting novel, so simple, so spare and so honest."
"Review" by , "A hugely compassionate, wildly original road movie of a novel about two brothers, Frank and Jerry, who are trying to escape the ramifications of a fatal hit-and-run accident. The warm-hearted folksy balladeer proves he’s just as much at home on the printed page as he is behind a mic, with detailed yet understated drawings complementing the tale."
"Synopsis" by ,

From an award-winning “savvy storyteller”* comes a page-turning, zeitgeist-capturing novel of a young couple who turn to drug trafficking to make it through the recession.

James and Kate are golden children of the late twentieth century, flush with opportunity. But an economic downturn and an unexpected pregnancy send them searching for a way to make do.

A winter in the mountains of California’s Siskiyou County introduces a tempting opportunity. A friend grows prime-grade marijuana; if James transports just one load from Cali to Florida, he’ll pull down enough cash to survive for months.

James navigates life as a mule, then a boss—from moneyhungry friends to gun-toting drug lords, from Sacramento to Tallahassee, from just making the weight move cross-country to making thousands of dollars a day. The risks keep rising, forcing him to the next criminal level. A kidnapping, a shootout, a bank vault—it all culminates in a swirl of action.

Absorbing and timely,Muleperfectly captures the anxieties of plunging into the criminal world and of being a young person making do in a moment when the American Dream you never had to believe in—because it was handed to you, fully wrapped and ready to go at the takeout window— suddenly vanishes from the menu.

*Entertainment Weekly

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