The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin
Published by Harper, 2021
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
This bold critique of gentrification and systemic greed combines the pace of a high-stakes thriller with urgent social commentary.
Approaching 30, Lynette has spent the past three years juggling multiple jobs so that she, her mother, and her developmentally disabled brother can buy the run-down Portland house they have always called home. Concerned about the cost and the rapid urbanization of the neighborhood, Lynette’s mother pulls out of the deal at the last moment, taking her financial contribution with her. Still desperate to ensure stability for her brother, Lynette embarks on a dangerous two-day mission to make up the shortfall. She hopes to pull together the last of the money she needs to afford the mortgage deposit on her own before the bank rescinds their offer. But this means reconnecting with various figures from her past — some of Portland’s most morally questionable citizens. This journey ignites old traumas for Lynette and pushes her family to a breaking point, as the reader comes to understand just how much she has suffered in her bid to find security.
Willy Vlautin lays bare the dark side of gentrification, showing how working-class and marginalized groups are systematically squeezed out of their own communities — victims of meager pay and a lack of opportunity.