June 29 , 2008

The Free


The life he knew before the bomb no longer existed. That Leroy Kervin was gone.

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*~*Spoilers Ahoy for Part One and Two*~* Ex-Navy SEAL Travis Ration has made the mistake of his life and now it's a race against time and a killer to set things right. When he left Bliss Giles heart-broken and in protective custody, he thought he was giving her the freedom to a better…

Willy Vlautin's stunning fourth novel opens with Leroy, a young, wounded, Iraq veteran, waking to a rare moment of clarity, his senses flooded with the beauty of remembering who he is but the pain of realising it won't last. When his attempt to end his half-life fails, he is taken to the local hospital where he is looked after by a nurse called Pauline, and visited by Freddie, the night-watchman from his group home for disabled men.

As the stories of these three wounded characters circle and cross each other, we come to learn more of their lives. The father who caused her mother to abandon them both, and who Pauline loves and loathes in equal measure, the daughters Freddie yearns to be re-united with and, in a mysterious and frightening adventure story, the girlfriend Leroy dreams of protecting.

Evoking a world which is still trying to come to terms with the legacy of a forgotten war, populated by those who struggle to pay for basic health care, Vlautin also captures how it is the small acts of kindness which can make a difference between life and death, between imprisonment and liberty. Haunting and essential, The Free is an unforgettable read.

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