Northline: A Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$13.46
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.95
  • Save: $1.49 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it tomorrow, April 18? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Northline: A Novel Paperback


See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$17.25 $16.94
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.46
$1.99 $1.71 $35.00

Frequently Bought Together

Northline: A Novel + Lean on Pete: A Novel + The Free: A Novel (P.S.)
Price for all three: $38.29

Buy the selected items together

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 69%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Pap/Com edition (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061456527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061456527
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #313,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Singer-novelist Vlautin's second novel (after The Motel Life) reads more like a movie treatment than a novel. Allison Johnson, 22, is a high school dropout with a destructive lifestyle (alcoholism, self-mutilation, vituperative boyfriend who knocks her up early in the novel); the only positive influence in Allison's life is her favorite actor, Paul Newman, who appears to her during traumatic moments. Their banal conversations center on Newman's movie roles and how they equip him to continually bail Allison out of her sorry situation. She takes his advice (get the hell out of Dodge, as they say, and most of all, kid, buck up) and moves from Las Vegas to Reno. But pregnant Allison's life isn't much better in Reno: the cycle of self-loathing continues, and even though Newman implores Allison to turn her life around, the damage is all but done. Much of the writing reads like stage direction, and the abbreviated chapters give the narrative a rushed, slapdash feel. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Timorous, twentysomething Allison Johnson is pregnant. She didn’t complete high school and has worked as a waitress for several years. She often gets drunk and quickly passes out and then writes herself letters that shriek her lack of worth. But her biggest fear is of Jimmy Bodie, her abusive, budding-skinhead boyfriend. So she leaves Las Vegas and moves to Reno. She gives her son up for adoption, begins waitressing again, and has imaginary conversations with actor Paul Newman that help her carry on. Vlautin uses the same strikingly spare and simple prose in Northline that distinguised his critically acclaimed first novel, The Motel Life (2007). His essential subject, decent people enduring difficult lives, also remains the same, but here he takes a giant step in his growth as a novelist, plumbing much deeper into the emotional core of his characters. Northline recalls a dust-jacket blurb on an early edition of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men: “Two hours to read, 20 years to forget.” --Thomas Gaughan

More About the Author

Willy Vlautin is the author of four novels: The Motel Life, Northline, Lean on Pete, which won two Oregon Book Awards, and The Free. He is the singer and songwriter of the band Richmond Fontaine and lives in Scappoose, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
10
4 star
5
3 star
1
2 star
1
1 star
0
See all 17 customer reviews
Vlautin's characters are painfully and fully human and real and flawed.
R. Bird
The stories are easy to follow along, yet provoke a ton of thought about the characters.
upontheroof
You hate when bad things happen to her and you rejoice at every good decision she makes.
K. Cade

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By K. Cade VINE VOICE on May 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up last night knowing nothing about the author or the title. I read it in a matter of hours. Why? I could not put it down. Alison Johnson is a person you've known in your lifetime. A good person who continues to make mistakes. Yet in this novel you don't get angry with her, you are sad for her and begin to root for her to overcome her deep seeded issues. You hate when bad things happen to her and you rejoice at every good decision she makes.

This novel works because Mr. Vlautin allows you to "know" his characters in a way that makes you want to read. I read a lot of books, rarely do I come take the time to write a review, but this one's a winner.

My copy came with a novel soundtrack. Novel idea, one that I think will catch on perhaps. If we're lucky. The soundtrack has no lyrics, just chill music.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Heather A. Teysko VINE VOICE on February 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up at a librarian convention a few months ago - the publisher had a booth and was giving out preview copies. It's not something I normally would have picked up as I'm more of a chick-lit kind of girl, but I thought I'd give it a whirl. It was well worth it, and I'm definitely a fan of Vlautin now, and will get his other books.

Allison Johnson is trapped in a really bad situation in life - she's 22, dropped out of high school, works as a waitress in a Las Vegas casino, has an abusive boyfriend, hurts herself, is an alcoholic, and writes notes to herself about what a horrible person she is.

The only thing keeping her going is her imaginary conversations with Paul Newman, who she has a major crush on (her mother and sister do, too).

Paul Newman gives her advice based on his movie roles, and begs her to turn her life around, stop hurting herself, and pull it together.

There were moments where I really wanted to shake her and get her to come to her senses. Other times, like when she got her own apartment and went shopping at the Salvation Army, I was really proud of her ability to take care of herself.

She meets a lot of really horrible people, but she also meets kindness and love, and the story, which runs the gamut of emotion, eventually ends on a hopeful note.

It is a really quick read - took me about 3 hours or so - and I definitely recommend it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael G. VINE VOICE on September 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
With his second published novel Northline, Willy Vlautin proves that his first, The Motel Life, was no fluke. Both these books paint vivid pictures of society's outcasts as they struggle to survive in a world they find overwhelming.
Unlike The Motel Life, Northline is a third person narration and this time the protagonist is female. Allison Johnson, more often then not referred to simply as "the girl", lives in Nevada. Her problems are many: alcoholism, family dysfunction, abusive boyfriend, incomplete education and honest to God psychiatric illness. Using a series of vignettes, Vlautin succeeds in bringing realism to Allison's claustrophobic life.
This is a compelling novel which realistically tells of lives lived on the margins. For those unafraid of glimpsing society's hidden underbelly, Northline is a must read.

The limited edition CD of original instrumental music that came with the paperback proved to be a welcome bonus.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marcus Sakey on June 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
What a beauty.

Allison Johnson is a pregnant alcoholic who flees to Reno to escape her abusive boyfriend. Haunted by a long string of mistakes and with nothing to cling to, she's at the ragged edge; apart from booze, her only support system is Paul Newman, who pops by to have imaginary chats on a regular basis.

The wonderful thing about this book--one of them--is the unsentimental way Vlautin writes. Even as he explores serious emotional depths, everything unfolds in simple, matter-of-fact language that tears your heart out. And yet for all the pain, the novel is lit by a deep sense of hope in the possibility of a better day. Highly recommended.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By upontheroof on January 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
I love Willy Vlautin books. I had read the Motel Life and Lean On Pete back in 2010, and for some reason, l finally made it around to Northline. Allison Johnson, the main character in the book, comes across as a troubled girl who is surrounded by troubling people. However the good in her and her desire for something better, seems to jump off the page. The whole book I just wanted to give her a hug and tell her that things were going to be ok.

You find yourself rooting for her, and I found myself distraught when things were not going her way.

The thing I like most about Willy Vlautin books is they are very accessible for every level of reader. The stories are easy to follow along, yet provoke a ton of thought about the characters. Most importantly, they provoke emotion, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but I read to feel, and Willy Vlautin makes me feel.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Hewitt on June 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
His writing ability may be on the questionable side, but no one could possibly claim that Willy Vlautin's heart isn't in the right place. Vlautin crafts his prose in minimalistic Carver style, at least until his characters start talking (sometimes they don't pause for several paragraphs). Although it's difficult to say if this surface sense of simplicity is more the result of cunning or limitation of skill, ultimately the effect is a refreshing contrast to the many authors who are all too eager to let their own cleverness become part of the story (if not the central focus altogether). In Northline, the story is laid bare and so is the depth of feeling. This is an extremely affecting and beautifully humane story of two "marked" young people trying to salvage their broken lives by clinging to the aberrant kindnesses they find in one another. Its accompanying soundtrack is equally evocative.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa5542264)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?