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The Motel Life by Willy Vlautin
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The Motel Life (2006)

by Willy Vlautin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3131535,548 (3.8)16

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» See also 16 mentions

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This book is the story of two brothers living on the fringes of society in Reno, barely scraping by; the kind of people you might briefly wonder how they got where they are if you were to see them on the street. One of the brothers, Jerry-Lee is simple-minded, and Frank had promised his mother that he would look after Jerry-Lee after her death. When things get bad, Frank tells Jerry-Lee stories about the wonderful future that awaits them some day. Jerry-Lee believes these fantasies; Frank realizes their impossibility. When Jerry-Lee is involved in a hit and run accident, the two brothers go on the run.

In a lot of ways, this novel echoes Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. It is unremittingly bleak and despairing, yet as a character study of the two brothers and their relationship, it is a beautiful book. ( )
  arubabookwoman | Apr 20, 2017 |
Can't rate this - my reaction is too conflicted. See, the thing is, I live in Carson City. I know people like this. I work hard to use more sense than they do, and to distance myself from their drama. I don't need to watch people being stupid enough to be usually drunk and sad, rather than getting their shit together.

And the other thing is, I'm not sure other people do, either. It's as if Vlautin is exploiting these unfortunate folks, just so the literary world can get its kicks. Also, there's a lot in here that just doesn't ring true, and I'm pretty sure the author doesn't really know what it's like to live in this world and not be able to see a way out.

Otoh, it was a kick learning a bit more about our area and seeing it through his eyes. And he does write well. I just think [b:The Outsiders|231804|The Outsiders|S.E. Hinton|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1314327508s/231804.jpg|1426690] and [b:The Basketball Diaries|682745|The Basketball Diaries|Jim Carroll|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1331057236s/682745.jpg|922689] are better.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Another 5 star book by Vlautin! This was extra special to read because I recently purchased it directly from the author who wrote a great personal inscription! I can't wait to read his next book. In the meantime, I guess I can re-read the others, I bought them all. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Jan 29, 2016 |
I kept waiting for the dog to die. I shouldn't read these all at once. ( )
  RachelGMB | Aug 5, 2015 |
Vlautin liked Bukowski, and even more Carver. If one would like to read something that is a blend of the two, then this might appeal. ( )
  Lasitajs | Feb 1, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Willy Vlautinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Arensman, Dirk-JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The night it happened I was drunk, almost passed out, and I swear to God a bird came flying through my motel room window.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061171115, Paperback)

With "echoes of Of Mice and Men"(The Bookseller, UK), The Motel Life explores the frustrations and failed dreams of two Nevada brothers—on the run after a hit-and-run accident—who, forgotten by society, and short on luck and hope, desperately cling to the edge of modern life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:57 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Brothers Frank and Jerry Lee are on the run after a hit-and-run accident. Interweaving past and present, Vlautin unfolds the story of their unhappy lives--lives afflicted by drink, bleak economic circumstances, and family misfortune.

» see all 3 descriptions

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