May 22, 10
Read from May 13 to 22, 2010
i'm already a big fan of willy vlautin's, so i was pretty excited to dig into his next novel. and again, he could not disappoint. vlautin is kind of the mark twain of our times... a simply great storyteller. he doesn't fluff up his novels with big words or epic phrasing. he keeps it simple and beautiful and tells us the story of the human condition.
particularly this character, charley, reminds me of huck finn. charley's used to being on his own, takes pretty good care of himself, and manages a pretty decent viewpoint of the world despite the fact that his life is not terribly enriching. charley finds himself in a new town (portland, or) and in need of a job. he meets del montgomery, an old-timer who races horses at pitifully small and decrepit race tracks around oregon and washington. he begins assisting del with his horses and befriends one of them -- lean on pete. life gets tough for charley, and next thing you know he and pete are in search of his long lost aunt.
vlautin's storytelling is so powerful, and charley so damned likable, i admit i had tears in my eyes in several places along this novel. i was compelled to keep reading to find out what was going to happen to charley and pete. vlautin doesn't disappoint, right up to the last page.
vlautin's other job is vocals in the band richmond fontaine, a portland area band. great music, you should really check them out. my reason for mentioning this is that vlautin's previous works have included a cd of songs paired well with the pace of his novels. this one has no cd, which is sad for me, as i would have loved to heard the mood vlautin created for this particular novel.
bottomline: i continue to be excited and moved by vlautin's novels.