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The Motel Life: A Novel Kindle Edition
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.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B005HF54M2
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; 1st edition (September 27, 2011)
- Publication date : September 27, 2011
- Language : English
- File size : 7137 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 228 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #910,806 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Willy Vlautin can write. And write. And win awards. And write. And grab you by your heart and soul and suck you into his books so well that you become a part of them. He can write and bring you to tears. He is full of compassion, emotion, takes characters who are so downtrodden there is no way up for them -- yet, yet, he brings so much hope into his writing. I LOVE Vlautin.
We meet the Flannigan brothers, Frank and Jerry Lee. They are two young men who are down on their luck, can't hold jobs, love to drink, and have a talent for attracting trouble. If it weren't for bad luck they would have no luck at all. They are basically good people who just can't catch a break.
On the back cover we read -- "I knew then, that morning, when I saw the kid's frozen arms in the back of the car that bad luck had found my brother and me. And us, we took the bad luck and strapped it around our feet like concrete. We did the worst imaginable thing you could do. We ran away."
Thus begins the biggest little adventure you will read. Brothers Jerry Lee and Frank run from their problems/troubles and fall in to even more complex problems. Vlautin takes you along for the ride; meeting down to earth characters you will remember for a long time, helping others even though they themselves need help, and giving readers a front seat tour of Reno.
The story is simple and the reading is divine. Vlautin really knows how to get inside his characters heads and makes you feel as if you know them also. The story line is fast paced and full of surprises along the way. The events that take place are believable and entertaining. I just read the last word of this book and am missing Frank and Jerry Lee already; they have been a big part of my life for the past few days.
This is a book I will recommend to all and remember forever. Vlautin is like that -- he makes you remember what he has written. I have also read LEAN ON PETE, THE FREE, and now MOTEL LIFE. I only have NORTHLINE left to read. I am praying Vlautin releases a new book soon.
At the end of this book is a section about the author, a section called A TOUR OF THE FLANNIGAN BROTHERS' RENO, and a nice write up regarding the illustrator, Nate Beaty. Willy Vlautin is also a song writer and a major member of the band RICHMOND FONTAINE. There are song lyrics included also.
I have to say that Willy Vlautin is easily one of my favorite authors and I recommend his work to all. His writing is passionate, hard, kind, rough, wonderful, and sad. Roll all of that together and you are going to agree -- he is one of the best around.
Thompson was describing the dreary day-to-day lives of chronically unemployed outlaw bikers in his 1966 book, Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, living in and around Oakland, California. Vlautin’s novel chronicles the dreary day-to-day lives of two brothers, Frank and Jerry Lee Flannigan, living in and around Reno, Nevada.
Frank and Jerry Lee careen from one mis-adventure to another, living moment-to-moment, day-labor job to day-labor job, in an unsure world where financial planning means that you have accumulated enough spare change for the next six-pack. One third of the way through The Motel Life, one Flannigan brother is thrust into the multiple role of personal attendant, suicide prevention counselor and surprisingly gifted story teller, surprising because their day to day conversations usually sound something like this:
“It was the middle of the night when I woke next.
‘Are you awake?’
‘Yeah, he said.
‘How you feeling?’ I asked him.
‘I’m having nightmares,’ he said softly and we fell quiet for a time and then I got up and went to the cooler and took a beer from it and opened it.
‘You mind if I have one? It sounds good. Nothing has been sounding good, not even water, but that does, an ice-cold beer.’
I walked over to him with one, opened it, and handed it to him.
“We’ve drank a lot of beers, ain’t we, Frank?’
‘I guess so,’ I said and sat back down on the bed.”
The Flannigan brothers represent the forgettable guys we went to high school with, maybe played sports with, but will never cross our paths again. They will not have Facebook or LinkedIn accounts and will be no-shows at class reunions.
Top reviews from other countries
Circumstances can turn good men bad, and we can all fall victim to fate .
The Flannigan brothers only had each other , and alcohol , to rely on after their father left , and their mother died .
Frank stood in loco parentis to his brother Jerry Lee, so when his brother knocked over and killed a boy , they went on the run , selling what they could to survive . But even when on their uppers Frank still wanted to share what they had with people he felt they owed , and those people recognised the finer qualities in him .
A sad reflection on how a lack of support can so adversely affect young lives .
The Motel Life isn't without its flaws and does show some signs of being a debut novel. One of the most obvious and irritating of these is the 'filler', which uses the story-within-a-story technique to keep things flowing.
The first time the narrator tells another of the characters (to his girlfriend) a little fictional story, you'll smile and read it, seeing it as a nice little touch. The second time he does it (to a waitress in a cafe), you'll probably read it again, but begin to wonder what the the author's motives are. The third, fourth and fifth times he does it (to his brother), you'll grow impatient and probably skip the half a dozen pages, to the point at which the real story resumes.
To me, these stories-within-a-story are a major weak point in the novel, and it's a real shame the author gave up on the main theme by so often resorting to this filler technique.
It's also worth mentioning that I bought this book because I was looking for a decent road-trip novel, and while the first few chapters suggest this is what the reader is going to get, I never really felt like the 'road trip' ever took place, as the characters stay for so long in each of the various locations (of which there's only three). Moreover, each of these locations are very familiar to the characters, and I never really got a sense of them being 'on the road', in the sense I do with true road trip novels such as HST's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
The writing in this book is incredibly simple, narrated in the first-person by someone whose age I struggled to determine. The way in which the two main characters speak – particularly the narrator's brother – suggest mid to late teens, but the brief back-story of their lives suggests older.
On the whole – the story-within-a-story tactic aside – I enjoyed this book. I identified with and liked the characters, who were full, rounded and well-written.
Oh, and one more little point before I close. I could have done without the little sketches at the opening of each chapter, as it did make me feel a little like I was reading something aimed at the 'young adult' market.
If you are familiar with Willy Vlautin's songs you will already be familiar with the subject matter of this story. It's a great little book with a simple theme. It is written in the first person (by one of the brothers) and the author captures the voice perfectly. There is absolutely no pretentiousness here.