READING: Willy Vlautin - 'The Free'

Willy Vlautin returns to his hometown to read from his latest novel, The Free, on Monday, February 10, from 6:30 - 8 pm at Sundance Books and Music.

This program is made possible in partnership with Nevada Humanities and with the support of the Nightingale Family Foundation.  


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.


"The straight forward beauty of Vlautin's writing, and the tender care he shows his characters, turns a story of struggle into indispensable reading." — Ann Patchett

“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


Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, 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. 






Event date: 
Monday, February 10, 2014 - 6:30pm
The Free: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062276742
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - February 4th, 2014

Lean on Pete: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061456534
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - April 13th, 2010

Northline: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061456527
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - April 29th, 2008

The Motel Life: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061171116
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - April 24th, 2007