The Free: A Novel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Award-winning author of The Motel Life, Northline and Lean on Pete, Willy Vlautin demonstrates his extraordinary talent for confronting issues facing modern America, illuminated through the lives of three memorable characters who are looking for a way out of their financial, familial, and existential crises in The Free.
While serving in Iraq, veteran Leroy Kervin suffered a traumatic brain injury. Frustrated by the simplest daily routines, and unable to form new memories, he eventually attempts suicide. Lying in a coma, he retreats deep inside the memories locked in his mind. Freddie McCall works two jobs and still can't make ends meet. He's lost his wife and kids, and the house is next. Medical bills have buried him in debt, a situation that propels him to consider a lucrative—and dangerous—proposition. Pauline Hawkins is a nurse at the local hospital. Though she attends to others' needs with practical yet firm kindness, including her mentally ill elderly father, she remains emotionally removed. But a new patient, a young runaway, touches something deep and unexpected inside her.
The lives of these characters intersect as they look for meaning in desperate times. Heartbreaking and hopeful, The Free is a testament to the resiliency of the human heart. The Free also includes a P.S. Section (additional material in the back of the book) with interviews, insights, and more about the author. Vlautin is the founder of the alternative country band Richmond Fontaine and his debut novel, The Motel Life, has been made into a film starring Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Dakota Fanning, and Kris Kristofferson.
Dilaudid, but he didn’t respond. “Mr. Delgado?” Pauline said again. He looked at her but he didn’t speak. “The TV doesn’t get cable,” the woman said suddenly. “The ones in the other rooms do. I checked.” She had her purse on her lap. She took a small plastic container of hand sanitizer from it and squirted it in her palms. “For the amount of money this is costing, you’d think we’d get cable.” “I’ll tell maintenance,” Pauline said while she checked his vital signs and made sure the drainage
them the shot and if they got the mark they’d take them away and no one would ever see them again. Is that what happened to your uncle?” Leroy nodded and paused for a long time. “When my uncle got back from Vietnam he worked at a lumber mill, but then they laid everyone off and closed it. The jobs dried up. They went to foreign ships off the coast that had mills onboard and they would buy our trees and sell the lumber back to us. So he came to live at our place. My mom got him a job as a stocker
came back. They told me to take off my shoes and socks and I did. They looked over my feet and gave me a pass notice. Then they told my uncle to put on his shoes and they took him away. He was crying in relief. He thought they were going to help him. That they would save him. Save him from the way he was drowning. He’d been having such a hard time. I said I would wait for him and I sat outside in his car all night but he never came out. The next morning I went to them and asked about my uncle and
the broken window. He picked up the glass he could find, vacuumed the carpet, and locked Hal’s door. He checked on Rolly and Donald, who were both asleep, and then he went back to the couch and watched TV. Dale was twenty minutes late but it was Sunday, his day off from Logan’s Paint. He ate breakfast at a diner on the way home as he always did on Sundays, and it was just past dawn when he entered his freezing house. He left his jacket on and started a fire and sat on the couch and watched TV
affair with him. He wanted to go there.” “How old were you?” “Five,” Pauline said and looked at her watch. “Do you have to go?” “I have four minutes left.” Jo opened another chocolate and put it in her mouth. “Were you upset when she left?” “Sure, I used to hate her because of it.” Pauline reached over and took one of the chocolates, opened it, and put it in her mouth. “But really, my dad . . . well all I can say is that I can’t imagine being married to him. It must have been pretty awful.”