Excerpt from The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Night Always Comes

by Willy Vlautin

The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin X
The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2021, 224 pages

    May 2022, 224 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Callum McLaughlin
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Kenny had his hands around her ankle and began pulling her from the bed. A small lamp on the dresser was the only light in the room and he stood over her in his Superman T-shirt and pajama bottoms. It was winter and a portable radiant heater in the middle of the room gave off little warmth, and his breath came out in small disappearing clouds.

Lynette woke suddenly and looked at the clock on the nightstand: three a.m. "I get to sleep for fifteen more minutes. So please don't touch me or say anything until then." She was thirty years old and got out of bed in ten-year-old sweats and wool socks, shut off the light on the dresser, and got back under the covers.

In the darkness his breathing grew louder.

"Go back upstairs," she cried.

He began to whimper.

"Please," she begged, but he didn't stop. It only became worse, so she turned on the bedside lamp next to the alarm clock and looked at him. "Jesus, don't start crying. It's too early and I'm exhausted and you know I'm mean when I'm exhausted. But even so you come down here every morning when you know you're not supposed to. Every morning it's the same thing."

His face was red and tears ran from his eyes.

"Come on, stop it. I'm too tired for you to cry. You have to let me sleep." She pulled the sheet, the two blankets, and comforter over her head. From underneath she said, "You know the rules. You have to wait until the alarm goes off. That's the rule. When the alarm goes off, you can come down. Not before. I've told you a million times. Just wait at the top of the stairs. Wait until you hear the alarm. We've talked about this over and over. Don't you remember?"

Her brother shook his head.

"You remember, I can tell just by your breathing."

Kenny shook his head but began to smile. He grabbed at her leg through the bedding.

She pulled the covers back. "Jesus, alright, okay, you win. But I'll only get up if you brush your teeth."

He shook his head.

"Your breath could kill somebody. Even in the cold I can smell it. Put on the clean sweats I set out, brush your teeth, and let me get ready for work. Okay?"

He shook his head.

"In five seconds I'm gonna get mad again." She pointed to the stairs and finally her brother headed for them. She stayed in bed and watched as he walked away. He was thirty-two years old and gaining more weight each year. His body had become a pear. He was five feet ten inches tall and waddled when he walked. He had thinning brown hair and a growing bald spot on the crown of his head. He had monthly seizures and couldn't talk but for the sounds that came out almost like words. The doctors said that he had the mind of a three-year-old. Sometimes that seemed too low and other times too high.

He lumbered up the stairs and she got out of bed.

The foundation of the house was poured in 1922 using faulty concrete. During the winter rains, it leaked in a half-dozen places. Over the years small sections of the concrete wall had grown soft, the cement beginning to crumble. Their first landlord hired a company to patch the foundation, but he had died, and his son, who lived on the coast near Astoria, inherited the house. He hadn't raised the rent in eleven years with the understanding that they wouldn't call him for repairs. So they didn't, and the basement was left to leak.

Across the room from Lynette's bed was a working washer and dryer, a 1960s oil furnace, a concrete utility sink, and shelves filled with boxes. In high school she had painted her section of the floor dark blue and the walls light blue. She had hung posters. The room now had the same colored floor, but the posters were gone and the walls were white and bare. She had her mother's two-decades-old full-sized bed, a dresser that had come with the house, two of its legs now bricks, and a six-foot-long wooden pole that was nailed to the ceiling where she hung her clothes.

Excerpted from The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin. Copyright © 2021 by Willy Vlautin. Excerpted by permission of Harper. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Where Coyotes Howl
    Where Coyotes Howl
    by Sandra Dallas
    Where Coyotes Howl may appear to be a classically conventional historical novel — a wide-eyed ...
  • Book Jacket: After the Miracle
    After the Miracle
    by Max Wallace
    Many people have heard one particular story about Helen Keller—how the saintly teacher, Annie ...
  • Book Jacket: The Lost Wife
    The Lost Wife
    by Susanna Moore
    The Lost Wife is a hard-hitting novella based in part on a white settler named Sarah Wakefield's ...
  • Book Jacket
    Firekeeper's Daughter
    by Angeline Boulley
    Voted 2021 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Angeline Boulley's young adult ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The First Conspiracy
by Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch
A remarkable and previously untold piece of American history—the secret plot to kill George Washington

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Pieces of Blue
    by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    A hilarious and heartfelt novel for fans of Maria Semple and Emma Straub.

Win This Book
Win Girlfriend on Mars

30 Copies to Give Away!

A funny and poignant debut novel that skewers billionaire-funded space travel in a love story of interplanetary proportions.



Solve this clue:

S I F A R Day

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.