Willy Floten paints an intriguing portrait of a woman who risks everything for a better life

Willy Floten paints an intriguing portrait of a woman who risks everything for a better life

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“Go west, young man.” This has always been a saying in US history. After the first temporary colony in Virginia, the future United States steadily expanded westward. The West has become a symbol of unprecedented possibilities, for freedom, for purity, far from spoiling civilization. In American literature too, the wilderness lies across from the border For those concepts, with Huckleberry Vin As the most famous example. The Road to the West is the path that leads to the American Dream.

When Willy Floten appeared in his new sixth novel Night always comesThe night always comes) has a character who leaves for the East in search of a better life, and then one thing is clear: Here the American dream got a little wrong. And that’s not really surprising in Willie Floten’s book.

Floten, in his five previous novels, has shown himself to be adept at describing the lives of ordinary Americans, often living on the fringes of society, and dreaming of a better life. at north Waitress Alison runs away from her abusive partner at bumpy road 15-year-old Charlie travels across America with his horse in search of a home, in do not let me fall The adopted son and farmer Horace aspires to a career as a boxing champion.

main character in Night always comes It is called Lynette (30). In just a few pages, Floten outlines her daily existence and does so so effectively that the reader is immediately drawn to both the novel and Lynette’s world. She gets up every morning at 3:15 to work in a bakery. When her shift is over she goes to a Community College To follow an accounting course there, after which she begins her evening shift at a bar. Later in the novel, it will become clear that another service often follows it, but this time of a less legal nature.

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That existence would be stressful enough without caring for her 32-year-old brother, who has the mental capabilities of a 3-year-old. But Lynette has this interest and Flotine impresses with the way it makes Lynette’s tangible love and care for her brother, as well as the debilitating effect that care has on herself.

Improvement in Portland

Night always comes It tells not only the story of Lynette, but also the story of a city experiencing its own development in the American Dream. The novel takes place in Portland, Oregon, which is undergoing a major improvement process. Everywhere, old buildings are being demolished and replaced with elegant apartment towers out of the reach of the natives. Whether this transformation is a dream or a nightmare depends a lot on who you are and the location you are in. As Lynette drives her wrecked car through her neighborhood, she sees new restaurants she’ll never be able to eat, new stores she’ll never dare enter, and elegant streets she’s shunned because things weren’t going well.

As a result of the improvement, real estate prices are rising at a rapid pace. Lynette is determined to buy the old rental home she and her brother and their mother live in before it’s too late. The homeowner made her a reasonable offer. If she does not take this opportunity, she will have to move on. To a different neighborhood, maybe a different country.

Lynette manages to save money for a down payment, but her mother is forced to sign a mortgage due to past events. He refuses at the last minute, and so after only twenty pages we find ourselves in the middle of a struggle that will erupt in the rest of the book.

two days and two nights

Night always comes Set over two days and two nights, Lynette does everything in her power to make her dream come true despite all the setbacks and opposition. She communicates with people from the past and has violent confrontations with her mother. Step by step, the reader is given the opportunity to form a more complete picture of both women, and the character of Lynette in particular grows into a beautiful portrait of a loving, opportunistic, ambitious, vulnerable but at the same time loving and strong character. .

A night in which Lynette plays entirely va-banque, puts it all, risks it all results in a series of confrontations with characters from the sharpest fringes of Portland society. Floten expresses everything in a faint, almost dry prose that contrasts sharply with what has been described.

In addition to Roman noir and an interesting psychological portrait, Night always comes Also a political book. It begins with the catchphrase “The point is, you can’t be greedy enough”, taken from “The 45th President of the United States of America” ​​(yes, that person). Floten shows what the consequences of this greed look like up close.

null Meulenhoff's photo

Muellenhof’s photo

Willie Floten: Night always comes. Translated from the English by Dirk Jan Arensmann. Meulenhof. 224 pages 21.99 euros.

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