Vlautin’s second novel, Northline (2008), is the heartbreaking tale of Allison Johnson, an alcoholic waitress who flees Las Vegas in search of a new beginning in Reno. Plagued by weakness, anxiety, and loneliness, she seeks comfort in imaginary conversations with Paul Newman. The first edition of the novel is accompanied by a CD soundtrack of instrumental songs as gloriously sad as the novel itself.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer says “Northline heralds the emergence of a major realist talent”. Northline made The San Francisco Chronicle’s Top Ten Bestseller list and was picked by George Pelecanos as his favorite book of the decade.