Cover Image: The Night Always Comes

The Night Always Comes

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Member Reviews

So much can happen in such a short time – and most of it isn’t particularly good. The story covers a short period of time with wide ranging dramatic events from a robbery to an assault to new beginnings. And as events happen, we learn some of the rather sordid details of the main characters lives. This is not a happy book; the characters are all flawed and/or flailing. But there is some sense of hope as envisioned by Lynette. She doesn’t give up; she keeps plugging away in her desire to get ahead. It is a fast moving and engaging read. Thanks to NetGalley and Harper for providing me a complimentary copy of "The Night Always Comes" by Willy Vlautin in exchange for my honest review.
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ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:  A gritty page turner about a young woman's efforts to achieve an American Dream - home ownership.

BRIEF REVIEW:  Lynette is a thirty year old woman who lives with her mother and developmentally challenged older brother.  Her goal has always been for them to own their own home and that opportunity has presented itself.  They have been living in a run-down rental home for years while Portland real estate prices have skyrocketed. Now is their chance, their landlord has offered them a deal on the house they now live in.  Lynette is excited as she's managed to save over $80,000 while working multiple jobs but, because of her bad credit she needs her mother's credit to seal the deal.  The week before they are to proceed her mother backs out and buys herself an expensive new car instead while Lynette drives an old beater that often fails to even start.

Devastated by what her mother has done, however,  she is used to being disappointed and has had more than her share of bad breaks.  She has made many bad decisions and loaned money that hasn't been repaid, now she's angry and determined to collect from all those who have taken advantage of her over the years. It's through this two day process that the reader learns about all that has happened to Lynette over the years.  The tension is fierce,  the encounters are nail-biting, the characters are flawed and story is riveting in every way.  I loved Lynette's character, so many people have let her down over the years and yes, she is deeply flawed but so determined, resilient, hard working and most of all her brother's biggest champion. This author knows how to write blue-collar lives and about the darker side of humans.  I was so disappointed in her lazy, selfish mother who never praised or encouraged her daughter. The ending was open to interpretation, but I sent Lynette positive vibes - hoping we hear about her again in another book. Highly recommended.  The audio was excellent as well, read by Christine Lakin.  Can you tell I loved this one?
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A perfect story for these turbulent times. Lynette like so many is dancing as hard as she can to not only make ends meet but secure a home for her mother and brother. She often finds herself skirting the law to get things done. She feels if only she can come up with the money and her mom helps they will have a home no one can take from them. The dream of home ownership is like that carrot in front of the donkey,just close enough to smell but too far too reach. Mom backs out at the eleventh hour forcing Lynette to some hard facts about herself and her life.
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<p><strong>My Thoughts:</strong>  I saw Willy Vlautin being interviewed, and I know the team at Harper Collins is really high on his books, so I finally got around to reading one of his books.  I am glad that I did. Willy Vlautin is an excellent writer, and he writes this time about a difficult and depressing situation for his main character.  There was a lot of depth and realism to his characters, and my heart ached for Lynette's situation.  I was frustrated by the bad choices she made but could understand how she made them.  The book makes for an interesting study.  As Lynette was trying to better herself and her situation, she couldn't quite break free of her old bad tendencies, She had obstacles that were difficult to overcome, but this pointed out the additional challenges of someone who is on the edge and has had mental issues and a bad situation in life.  The struggles are often greater for so many who are disenfranchised.  I highly recommend this book.

This book has been selected as a Library Reads book for April.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy for review.
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Lynette lives with her mother and mentally disabled brother in a poorer Portland suburb that is slowly grinding towards gentrification. For years she’s been working multiple jobs, getting up at 3:30 in the morning to start her day at a bakery and ending it into the evening working as a bartender. The hope, the dream is that with her mother they can buy the home they’re living in and secure a future for themselves, a tiny piece of the American dream. But when her mother suddenly backs out of the plan Lynette’s world spirals and over the course of forty eight hours we are witness to a feral dog hell bent on survival at all costs. 

At just slightly over two hundred pages this is a twelve car pile up on the freeway that you can’t turn away from as you stare in horror. Author Willy Vlautin spends great chunks of the book in monologues between characters that feel primed and ready to be performed on stage, violence curling at the edge of this threadbare desperation. This is the America we hear about, but many rarely really know. This is the America numbed by drugs, where sex is currency, and a fist communicates faster than a tongue. My heart hurt for Lynette who is described in one of the books few true tender moments:
“If I had a daughter, I always thought I’d want her to be like you”
“Like me?” Lynette said and then whispered, “But I’m no good at all. I’ve done a lot of bad things, Shirley.”
“Not really you haven’t. Not to me. See. The thing is, you never give up and you’ve got a good heart, a damaged heart, but a good heart, and you want to do good. Most people don’t care about doing good. Most people just push you out of the way and grab what they want.”
I found this extremely well written, but it’s a brutal story that lays bare the widening gap in this country between the haves and have nots. There’s a relief in being able to close this upon finishing and feel a sense of hope for Lynette who for all her faults and history is trying to better herself against what seems like insurmountable odds. 
For many real life Lynette’s there isn’t that same optimism. 
Big thanks to @harpercollins for the advance copy. Back to back books published by them have been two of my favorites this year so far.
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It feels weird to say I "enjoyed" this book because it was very dark and sad, but it was very good. It was exciting in some parts, heartbreaking in others, and occasionally even hopeful. The main character, Lynette, felt very real and I was rooting for her all the way through despite her flaws and mistakes.
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This book starts with the depressing life of a thirty year old woman who is either working multiple jobs at one of her many jobs or caring for her developmentally disabled brother and sometimes both at the same time. As she is tries to reclaim her life and redeem her reputation and credit score, she is doing everything to she can to save the money for the downpayment on the rundown house they are currently renting in Portland. But when she runs into an unexpected impediment, she spends a desperate night trying to get the money she needs and boy to things get intense. A very dark, disturbing book that you just can't put down!
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Everyone gets in a jam, a corner, maybe now a days more than previous years with this terrible pandemic, but how far will one go, a few kidney punches and one below the belt?

Money short, troubles plenty, kin ill health, a carer, and a father not present.

The author focus is on thirty year old Lynette out of Portland Oregan, her heart at battle with all the failures, ill health and short of monies, avenues ventured to break out of the prism of life before her with a series of events unraveling, life changing matters awaits her, and empathy for her lasting memorable character forged, one that could be striped from many real scenarios of denizens of the planet earth.

Life of chances and decisions and that one step on that pursuit in happiness when dreams gone askew and one seems in a corner, a life becomes re-examined, and revitalization needed.

Willy Vlautin did it again flowing forward in storytelling lucidness and great characters, he did it before with Don’t Skip Out on Me and Lean On Pete, with memorable heart companions on the page another little treat of a human struggle, against the odds and histories.

“He was thirty-two years old and gaining more weight each year. His body had become a pear. He was five feet ten inches tall and waddled when he walked. He had thinning brown hair and a growing bald spot on the crown of his head. He had monthly seizures and couldn’t talk but for the sounds that came out almost like words. The doctors said that he had the mind of a three-year-old. Sometimes that seemed too low and other times too high.”
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“The Night Always Comes” is a gritty yet earnest tale of a woman named Lynette. Equal parts captivating and heart wrenching, Vlautin’s latest delves into Lynette’s desperation after a life of trying to do everything right and still coming up short. The novel is a timely portrait of the changing landscape for middle class America; readers will feel exhausted on behalf of the protagonist as she struggles to gain an inch, while rooting for her every bit of the way as she fights and claws to stay afloat. By Vlautin’s poignant ending, readers will also questions what winning really look like in this story.
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"The Night Always Comes" had a lot of promise to be a great novel, but in the end though, I thought the story/plot was pretty average. My main problem was the writing. It was very on the nose. I also felt like there was no mystery or build-up to Lynnette's mental difficulties. Everything was pretty much spelled out (thanks to her crappy mother) that Lynette has problems regulating her emotions. What I did like was the tone. It had this creepy, gothic kind of feel. You could feel Lynette's pain in the way she spoke and interacting with her family. You could also feel her desperation. She was very sympathetic character. Overall, I liked this book but I don't think it was very memorable. It's a mixed bag for me. 

Thank you, Netgalley and Harper for the digital ARC.
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Lynette is working several jobs just to survive and care for her developmentally disabled brother, Kenny. She also is earning money at after hours illegal pursuits to save money to buy the house they share with their mother. The work includes flashbacks of her hard life. When her mother reneges on her promise to help with the down payment for the house, Lynette attempts to collect money owed to her by others. This dark, depressing work shows the difficulties of those in poverty caught in gentrifying communities with few ways to better themselves. The novel is raw but the ending promises some hope.
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Published by Harper on April 6, 2021

The Night Always Comes is a story of snowballing woe. At the age of thirty, Lynette is a fundamentally decent person who has, so far, survived a troubled life. She has anger management issues. When she was young, she tried to commit suicide. She left home to avoid being assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend. Her unstable mental health resulted in a hospitalization. Her choice of men has not been healthy.

The Portland Lynette knows is changing, but so is Lynette. She feels a darkness inside her that she is learning to keep contained. She takes care of her mentally disabled brother. She tries not to hurt people and she regrets the pain she has caused. Her friend Shirley tells Lynette that “you never give up, you’ve got a good heart, a damaged heart, but a good heart, and you want to do good.” That pretty well sums her up.

Lynette has made serious efforts to clean up her life. She works hard at a bakery although she earns extra cash through prostitution. She saves money because she wants to help her mother buy the crappy house that they’ve been renting. Despite soaring property values, the owner is willing to give them a deal. Lynette is sure they’ll never find a nearby dwelling that they can afford to rent if the owner sells it to someone else. The novel’s central conflict arises when Lynette learns that her mother is having second thoughts, or is only now sharing her thoughts, about the family’s future.

Lynette and her mother have long and difficult conversations during the novel’s two-day span. Lynette’s mother uses her constant exhaustion as an excuse to avoid unpleasant discussions, but Lynette and her mother eventually air their grievances and may, for the first time, begin to understand each other. Lynette might not be able to understand her mother’s selfishness, but her mother has been through a good bit of pain, some of it inflicted by Lynette during her teen years. Lynette’s mother is depressed, on the verge of giving up because she’s sure her life will never be better, no matter what she does. She has an irrational resentment of street people because, in her view, they don’t need to pay rent and they get free health care. Lynette, by contrast, sees the possibility of a better future that her mother refuses to embrace.

The story takes Lynette into some hairy situations. She steals a car, not to keep it but because its owner pissed her off. She steals a safe to collect money from a friend who refuses to repay a loan. She enlists the aid of a former boyfriend who tries to rip her off. She acquires some drugs and tries to sell them to a dealer who tries to rip her off. Lynette’s resourcefulness and determination keep her alive as she jumps from one precarious moment to another, yet it seems like only a matter of time before her actions catch up with her.

Willy Vlautin’s prose combines grit and elegance to shine a spotlight on Portland’s underbelly. While gentrification is moving the poor and the drug addicted out of their old haunts, the gentrified are seen only from a distance. Apart from a scene with a finance wizard who has been paying Lynette for sex — he dumps her when she asks him for free advice — people with money and stable lives occupy a world that does not welcome people like Lynette.

The plot serves to keep the story moving, but it is secondary to Lynette’s confrontations with her mother. Their dialog reflects the hesitancy of two people who never learned how to talk to each other, who don’t believe the other really wants to listen. The reader sees both characters in depth, two damaged women who have damaged each other. It is easy to feel sympathy for both of them, although it is easier to cheer for Lynette, simply because she hasn’t given up. By the novel’s end, Lynette doesn’t know where her life will go — no one does — but she knows she needs to take control of it. The reader can only admire her for persevering.

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The Night Always Comes is a riveting read that calls us to consider whether the American dream is still attainable for many of those who seek it.

The novel takes place over the course of two days and two nights. It is set in Portland, Oregon.

Lynette is 30, works three jobs (not all of them legal), attends a community college, and lives with her mother and developmentally challenged older brother. They have been given a chance to buy their home at a great price (considering how the gentrification of Portland has driven up the cost of housing), but must have the necessary money within a week or it will be put on the market. Lynette has been saving for three years in hopes of buying a house and has enough for the down payment required by their landlord. However, now that they have a chance to make that dream come true, her mother decides she doesn't want to sign for the loan needed to fulfill the asking price. With only two days remaining until they lose their chance of owning their own home, Lynette pulls out all the stops trying to get the money she needs. In her attempts, she puts herself in danger, and is forced to confront the reality of her past, present, and future.

Vlautin writes in such a raw, unflinching, and powerful way, that it is easy to fall under his spell. The characters (even the minor ones) are complex and richly drawn. Despite her many flaws, I found it impossible not to root for Lynette and to feel both her anguish and frustration as she struggles to hold on to her hope of being one of the country's "haves" rather than continue as a "have not".

This is an excellent read which I urge you not to miss!!

My heartfelt thanks to NetGalley and Harper publisher for allowing me to read an ARC of this novel in hopes of an unbiased review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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<i>The Night Always Comes</i> is a gut wrenching novel about both the American dream and the throes of poverty. Lynette lives with her mother in a run-down home outside of Portland, one she grew up in and one that is just within her reach of finally owning after 3 years of saving up diligently for the down payment. Until suddenly, she finds out that her situation has changed. And she needs more money than she thought. 

Vlautin takes the reader on a journey with Lynette over the course of two days in her world, with her multiple jobs, calling in cash from unsavory friends from her past that dredges up horrible memories and triggers, robberies and more. All so that Lynette can possibly, finally, own a little piece of something. To call her own.

Readers of this novel will experience a barrage of emotions, as the author eloquently tells Lynette’s story, which will resonate with so many others around the world.
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Dark and depressing - hard read.  Explores many of today's worst problems - depression, poverty, families dealing with special needs (with no help and no clue how).   

Short book - bad ending - I so wanted to know Lynette would be okay!
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Read this in 2 days! Lynette has no good luck. Her mother drinks and smokes. Her  30 something brother is mentally challenged to the level of about 3 years old. The bills are piling up and she has depression to deal with. Portland is getting too expensive to live in .pushed to the limit and struggling to survive.. a heartfelt story of survival.
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Lynnette is almost thirty.  She is working two jobs to pay off her debts and save some money.  She has bad credit but she believes that she and her mother can save enough money to buy the house where they currently live.  This purchase could be her salvation.  The owner is willing to give them a break on the cost of the house in a market with skyrocketing prices.  With the money she has saved for a down payment and with her mother’s help, Lynnette finally feels like they may be able to make the deal.  Unfortunately, her mother changes her mind and no longer wants to buy the house.  

Lynette then decides that she must find enough money to make the deal happen.  She wants it not only to better life for herself but for her brother who is developmentally challenged and needs constant care.  Lynnette goes to extreme lengths to collect money she is owed from a variety of people.  In her efforts to secure the funds, she deals with a criminal element.  She makes some bad choices and commits a few deeds where she herself crosses the line between legal and illegal.  

This is a book about right and wrong and good and bad.  It portrays the plight of someone who suffers from depression and who struggles to rise above her situation.  While Lynette moves through a night that is filled with strife, and when she becomes involved in a frantic search for a solution to her money problems, the story delves into the issues of poverty, mental illness and crime.  

The time frame of the plot is short. The tenor of the book is dark and disheartening. The compulsive and desperate actions of the characters as they try to find happiness through money is depressing.  This story successfully captures the essence of shattered lives that are filled with a multitude of struggles.  

Unfortunately, this is a rather painful, gritty, and raw narrative that didn’t appeal to me.  However, I feel the book will certainly find an appreciative audience in other readers.  

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the egalley of this book.
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This short and fast-paced story is dark, depressing, raw and gritty and left me really thinking about my own home town, the housing market, gentrification and what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck. I always appreciate how books give me a different set of eyes in which to view the world and this book does just that.

Lynette is 30 years old and living with her mother and developmentally disabled older brother in Portland, Oregon. They are one week away from having enough money to buy the house her family has been renting for years. Her thought is if they can just buy the house, then life will be better.  That's the American Dream, right? And their landlord is offering them a deal they can't pass up. But Lynette's mother has other plans which leaves Lynette's future uncertain. So for these two nights, Lynette revisits her past in her attempts to reclaim some money she feels she is owed from former friends, strangers, and enemies. Through these encounters, the reader learns of Lynette's very difficult past and her struggle with her mental health.  But the reader also sees a young woman who works hard and wants so desperately to get on the right track. But that track is not easy in today's society where working two jobs still doesn't get you enough to afford a home. 

What I liked about this book: This book was fast paced and Lynette's encounters were gripping. This book was hard to put down. I appreciated how gentrification and setting played such a huge part of this story and it really made me think beyond the storyline.  The writing is strong and while this is a really dark and depressing book, I'm glad I read it.

What I didn't like about this book: Some of Lynette's encounters were a bit over the top and at times I wondered how much more this poor woman could endure.  But honestly, it kept the book exciting even if it does seem outrageous.

I'd give this book a 4.0 to 4.25 stars.
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The Night Always Comes can be summed up in one word, DEPRESSING. Not in a mean way but this book was a gritty look into one young woman's pursuit of the American Dream. That dream was going up in a puff of smoke. I was rooting for her so badly. 

Lynette shares a run-down house with her mother and developmentally challenged older brother, Kenny. Lynette managed to save $80,000 to purchase the house they had been renting. She was a hustler and worked two legit jobs and one not so legit to earn that money. Lynette's mother was going to get the loan but decided she didn't want o purchase the house. Instead of telling her daughter this, she goes and buys a brand new car. I couldn't stand her mother after that. Plus all she did was complain and chain smoke. The love Lynette had for her brother tugged at me because I know the stress of being a caregiver. She treated Kenny like he was her own child. 

Amidst all the depressing stuff emerged some chaos and danger created by Lynette that had me wanting to read faster so I could get to the outcome. Lynette got herself into some crazy situations that took place over the course of a two day period. I definitely wanted to slap her a few times because she was CLUELESS.. She trusted the wrong people and the saying there is no honor among thieves absolutely is true. Lynette was a lot smarter than I gave her credit but she had me on edge with the risks she took. I give this one 3.5 stars. Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins for this ARC.
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Desperation seeps through the words of Vlautin’s work. Like so many growing urban areas, Portland Oregon’s working class is being forced out by gentrification. I felt like in a Tennessee Williams story not set in the south. Lynette, is trying to attend community college, care for her disabled older brother and pay the rent on their falling down house. Her mother seems to have given up and Lynette finds herself caught in a position where she can make the down payment on their and makes some either stupid or courageous decisions on how to get the money. And as the title indicates, this is not a happy story. At the end, the reader is left to decide what will happen to Lynette. Do you see her glass as half empty or half full? I listened to the audiobook narrated by Christine Lakin and highly recommend it, but I suggestion you choose a time when you can dedicate to listening to the book. Once started, the mental picture created by the narration and the author’s descriptions will make it really hard to put down.
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