About The Free:
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.
“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
“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
“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 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
“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
“The Free is another outstanding book from one of America’s most underappreciated artists.” -George Pelecanos
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.