Winter in The Blood by James WelchRead more of the Q & A at Powell's.
Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
Sweet Promised Land by Robert Laxalt
Montana 1948 by Larry Watson
True Grit by Charles Portis
Here's how Vlautin described his novel:
The Motel Life is a novel set in Reno, Nevada. It's about two brothers, Frank and Jerry Lee Flannigan, who end up living on their own in a motel at an early age, 14 and 16. These are decent kids who end up bouncing around for the next nine years living from place to place and going from job to job. Then one night Jerry Lee, while driving home, accidentally hits a boy on a bike and kills him. This changes the brothers' lives forever, because instead of reporting it, Jerry Lee goes to his brother for help and the two decide to run.--Marshal Zeringue