Grant's Reviews > The Motel Life

The Motel Life by Willy Vlautin
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Aug 25, 08

bookshelves: 21st-century-american-literary-nove
Read in August, 2008

this is a good, quick read. something i'm always a fan of. vlautin's writing is good. the story is what it is and over all vlautin does not get over dramatic. two brothers and their friends are functioning alcoholics, able to hold low-paying jobs and keep rooms at extended-stay motels. the older brother accidentally hits and kills a boy with his car. The book is mostly about what they do next. some of the reviews on the book compared him to raymond carver or john steinbeck. regarding the subject i agree. this book is something like a contemorary "tortilla flat". but his writing and style, though conversational and easy going, are not nearly as strong as carver or steinbeck. one i don't think he has nearly the ear for conversation that carver or steinbeck do. two, he doesn't have an equal talent to carver at seemingly not moving the plot along while he actually does. this ties into my only real complaint of the book: the main character and narrator waxes poetic a little too much. either a dramatic scene is weighed down by a poignant conclusion or at times the main character sounds a little too smart, a little too poetic. but mostly vlautin curbs those impulses and gives good, straight narration about the action, his thoughts, he and his brother's physical condition. also the novel is sprinkled with stories the main character has created to pass the time and tells his brother. and those are usually priceless. ahyway, a good read.
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