The Free

  • by Willy Vlautin
  • Narrated by Willy Vlautin
  • 6 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In his heartbreaking yet hopeful fourth novel, award-winning author Willy Vlautin demonstrates his extraordinary talent for illuminating the disquiet of modern American life, captured in the experiences of three memorable characters looking for meaning in distressing times.
Severely wounded in the Iraq war, Leroy Kervin has lived in a group home for eight years. Frustrated by the simplest daily routines, he finds his existence has become unbearable. An act of desperation helps him disappear deep into his mind, into a world of romance and science fiction, danger and adventure where he is whole once again.
Freddie McCall, the night man at Leroy's group home, works two jobs yet still can't make ends meet. He's lost his wife and kids, and the house is next. Medical bills have buried him in debt, a situation that propels him to consider a lucrative - and dangerous - proposition.
Pauline Hawkins, a nurse, cares for the sick and wounded, including Leroy. She also looks after her mentally ill elderly father. Yet she remains emotionally removed, until she meets a young runaway who touches something deep and unexpected inside her.
In crystalline prose, both beautiful and devastating, this 'major realist talent' (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) considers the issues transforming ordinary people's lives - the cost of health care, the lack of economic opportunity, the devastating scars of war - creating an extraordinary contemporary portrait that is also a testament to the resiliency of the human heart.


What the Critics Say

"Vlautin writes cleanly, beautifully about the people who hang on despite odds.... A fine novel...bounded by courage and kindliness." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Willy Vlautin writes novels about people all alone in the wind. His prose is direct and complex in its simplicity, and his stories are sturdy and bighearted and full of lives so shattered they shimmer." (Cheryl Strayed, The Oregonian)


Title Not For Sale In This Country

Audible does not currently have the rights to sell this title in your country.

Please consider another book.

Continue Browsing

See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Deeper into the dark heart of the Midwest..

If you're a fan, you'll excuse Vlautin's practical fetishisation of the mid-western working poor; the majority of his novels, short stories and songs plough this furrow to great effect. The Free takes this theme a step further in its intricate weaving of a group of central characters, each written with a gut-wrenching empathy; one, a young wounded serviceman is written in the abstract realm of his comatose dreams.
Another whose story is expanded from a Richmand Fontaine song; a father struggling to pay for his family's needs and debts whilst physically displaced from the loved ones he needs, agrees to rent his basement to a local weed farmer. And a nurse who gives herself to the care of others over her closely guarded personal life.
Their stories touch or briefly run parallel to each other, each character unconciously supportive of another in their hardships. The story, as with Vlautin's others is well written and emotively read by the man himself.
Read full review

- James Nash

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-02-2014
  • Publisher: HarperAudio