Illustrator Nate Beaty
Publication date April 5, 2007
Pages 224 pp
Originally published 5 April 2007
Publisher Faber and Faber
Media type Print (Paperback)
Country United States of America
Followed by Northline
|Similar Northline, Lean on Pete: A Novel, The Free: A Novel, Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietn, Sunset Park|
Willy vlautin the motel life movie interview
The Motel Life (2006) is the debut novel by musician and writer Willy Vlautin. It tells the story of two brothers from Reno, Nevada, whose lives are thrown into turmoil following a tragic accident. It was made into a movie starring Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, and Dakota Fanning, and released in November 2013.
- Willy vlautin the motel life movie interview
- The motel life featurette
The motel life featurette
Frank and Jerry Lee Flannigan are two down-and-out brothers who live a meager existence in Reno, Nevada. Both men are high school dropouts who live in cheap motel rooms, work at odd jobs for money, and drink heavily. One night, while driving drunk during a blizzard, Jerry Lee accidentally hits and kills a teenage boy on a bicycle. Although the accident is the boy's fault, there are no witnesses, and Jerry Lee is certain that the police will put the blame on him. He convinces Frank to leave town with him and flee to Montana. Along the way, Jerry Lee abandons Frank in Wyoming and then burns the car in a secluded Idaho forest. Both men return separately to Reno.
The police seem to take no interest in the case, so both men attempt to settle back into their Reno lives. Frank adopts an abused, half-frozen dog he finds during a snowstorm. Acting on a tip from a friend, he scrapes together $800 and bets it on the Tyson-Douglas boxing match, winning more than $5,000. He also tracks down the family of the dead teenager and stands outside their home, watching them come and go. Jerry Lee, meanwhile, becomes consumed by guilt and attempts suicide, shooting himself in the leg. He survives and lands in the hospital. On the day of the Tyson-Douglas fight, the police come to question Jerry Lee; they have discovered the burned-out wreck of his car in Idaho. Once again, Jerry Lee convinces Frank to flee Reno.
Frank uses his winnings to buy a used car. He leaves $1,000 at the home of the dead teenager, sneaks Jerry Lee out of the hospital, and heads to the town of Elko, Nevada, to hide from the police. Frank's ex-girlfriend Annie lives in Elko, and he secretly hopes to run into her. But Jerry Lee's wounds are far from healed and he quickly becomes very sick.
"The Motel Life" received a favorable review from New York Times critic John Wray, who wrote: "Slighter than Carver, less puerile than Bukowski, Vlautin nevertheless manages to lay claim to the same bleary-eyed territory, and surprisingly – perhaps even unintentionally – to make it new.". Johnathan Gibbs of The Independent noted: "The brothers' relationship is at the centre of the book. Vlautin is clearly reaching back past Bukowski and the others to the granddaddy of all tragic road stories, that of Lenny and George in Of Mice and Men.".
The novel has been adapted into a film by Alan Polsky and Gabriel Polsky by the same name. The film debuted in the US on 8 November 2013 in select theatres.