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Award-winning author Willy Vlautin explores the impact of trickle-down greed and opportunism of gentrification on ordinary lives in this scorching novel that captures the plight of a young woman pushed to the edge as she fights to secure a stable future for herself and her family.
Barely thirty, Lynette is exhausted. Saddled with bad credit and juggling multiple jobs, some illegally, she has been diligently working to buy the house she lives in with her mother and developmentally disabled brother Kenny. Portland’s housing prices have nearly quadrupled in fifteen years, and the owner is giving them a good deal. Lynette knows it’s their last best chance to own their own homeand obtain the security they’ve never had. While she has enough for the down payment, she needs her mother to cover the rest of the asking price. But a week before they’re set to sign the loan papers, her mother gets cold feet and reneges on her promise, pushing Lynette to her limits to find the money they need.
The story follows Lynette’s frantic searchan odyssey of hope and anguish that will bring her face to face with greedy rich men and ambitious hustlers, those benefiting and those left behind by a city in the throes of a transformative boom. As her desperation builds and her pleas for help go unanswered, Lynette makes a dangerous choice that sets her on a precarious, frenzied spiral. In trying to save her family’s future, she is plunged into the darkness of her past and forced to confront the reality of her life.
This heart wrenching portrait raises the difficult questions we are often too afraid to ask ourselves: What is the price of gentrification, and how far are we really prepared to go to achieve the American Dream? Is the American dream even attainable for those living at the edges? Or for too many of us, is it only a hollow promise?
Christine Lakin is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and acclaimed television actress, best known for her roles as Alicia “Al” Lambert on the hit family comedy Step by Step and as Joan of Arc on Showtime’s Reefer Madness.
Willy Vlautin is the author of The Motel Life, Northline,and Lean on Pete, and is the singer and songwriter of the band Richmond Fontaine. He lives outside Portland, Oregon.
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