Friday, 2 July 2010

Northline by Willy Vlautin

Allison is a young girl living in Vegas who is having a rough life. I mean a really rough life, every plausible terrible thing that can happen to a woman happens to Allison in this book. If you were to see Allison on the street with her tattoos and swigging from a bottle you would probably dismiss her as just some girl who needs to get her life together which is what she attempts to do throughout the course of this book.

This sounds grim and certainly large parts of it are but the only way Allison is able to make small tiny changes in her life is through the random acts of strangers. Every so often someone will show a small amount of kindness that when added together puts Allison in a much better place at the end of the novel than the beginning.

This has a simple plot which never strays into sentimentality and shows all the characters flaws and I emphasised with them and wanted their lives to get better. Nothing in this short novel at less than 200 pages is perfect and that goes for the ending but there is a sense of redemption and hope.

This story is simply told and a quick read, if you don't mind your books depressing and grim at times, there's a lot to get out of this novel.

Verdict 3/5

Posted by Jess


  1. I wanted to tell you that I just love the variety of books you review and I'm always thinking 'Hm, I should look for that' or 'Yes, I've been wanting to read that' when I visit your blog. Thanks!

  2. This definitely sounds different that anything I've read that I can think of. If I see it at my library, I'll get it.

  3. Marieke - thanks ever so much for your kind comments, they are very much appreiated!

    Zara - its certainly different this book, I had never heard of this writer until George Pelecanos mentioned him on a book show. But beware it does make for some grim reading.

  4. This looks interesting. I like stories where the random acts of kindness from strangers make a difference, and don't mind if the book is overall gritty. I'll take gritty over oversentimental any day.