Saturday February 22, 2020

Working class hero

Willy Vlautin’s novels, which deal with people struggling through unfashionable, tough lives, have attracted praise from some of the best known writers of this generation, writes Nadine O’Regan

Nadine O’Regan

Arts Editor and Columnist

@nadineoregan
18th February, 2018
Willy Vlautin: ‘I don’t think there’s a big interest in working-class fiction’ Pic: Getty

Willy Vlautin writes with spare precision about characters who have hard lives.

Across highly acclaimed novels which have included Lean on Pete, The Motel Life, The Free and Northline, Vlautin has become known for chronicling a particular type of existence in his fiction: a life characterised by rootlessness and absence of meaning. A life that is often without hope.

It’s dark terrain, in other words, but Vlautin in person is a very different man from...

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