Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Willy Vlautin

Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, Willy Vlautin started playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager and quickly became immersed in music. It was a Paul Kelly song, based on Raymond Carver’s Too Much Water So Close to Home that inspired him to start writing stories. Vlautin has published five novels: The Motel Life (2007), Northline (2008), Lean on Pete (2010), The Free (2014), and the newly released Don't Skip Out on Me.

Recently I asked Vlautin about what he was reading. His reply:
A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines

A novel of such power and sadness its unforgettable. I’ve read it a handful of times over the years and always it’s a heartbreaking marvel. The story of Billy Casper, a kid from a broken home, who’s only future after school is a job in a coal mine. Set in a bleak mining community in an unnamed northern UK town, Billy is an outcast both at home and school. His only friend is a kestrel he has trained and keeps in a shed. A bird that flies above the sadness of the world, a bird free from the working-class constraints of spending one’s life in the darkness of a mine. I have copy in front of me, ragged and torn. It’s a book that once you begin you don’t want to leave, you don’t want Billy Casper and Kes to be anywhere but in your pocket, safe and out of harm’s way.
Visit Willy Vlautin's website.

--Marshal Zeringue