Vlautin in Ireland

Willy Vlautin‘s second novel, Northline, is one of my recent favorites–I’ve talked about it before, and I suspect I’ll return to it again after it officially comes out in a few weeks. In the meantime, he talks a little about some of his inspirations for the novel, particularly racist skinheads, in the Galway Advertiser. The World Church of the Creator–an organization that, depressingly, got a lot of attention when I was living in Chicago–plays a bit part Northline‘s story. Vlautin explains:

“The boyfriend is based on about three different guys I grew up with,” he says. “I worked jobs with these really tough work-a-day skinheads guys. When the Mexican immigrants would come into Reno they would get construction jobs because the bosses would hire illegal workers.

“Anyway, I would see these guys that I’d known my whole life get more and more racist and violent. I suppose I wanted to kind of try and understand that situation because it’s a common thread that runs through any country that has lots of different people. The thing that really cemented the character in my mind was when the guy who does a lot of the Richmond Fontaine artwork got stabbed by a skinhead.”

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