Former English and drama major, bookaholic.
I have never read anything by Jess Walters and so was truly taken by surprise by the sheer intelligence of this guy! The metaphors, the rich, snappy banter of his writing is a treat after some of the bad sitcom-like books I sometimes download by mistake. The story is straightforward and also very touching amid all of this verbal acrobatics. Loved it.
I love books, but I particularly love audio books. What a luxury to have someone like Campbell Scott read you to sleep.
Jess Walter's writing reminds me of Gone Girl. Funny, contemporary, "a male voice". (OK more than three words). Jess Walter is the male version of "chick lit" (and I mean it in a nice way). Not only is his storytelling is brilliant, he one of the best narrators. He has a great voice but Jess, please don't give up your day job writing books. I am waiting for your next one.
I'd normally be wary about an author reading his own book, but Walter does a great job. You can hear the deadpan humor in his voice, and he reads it beautifully. (Note: he talks about his experience of reading this book in the afterword of "Beautiful Ruins.")
Excellent story, great characters, and I laughed out loud at least a dozen times.
Wow, loved this book, with a great reading by the author. I didn't want it to be over. One of those books that is so magically captivating in audio format.
This story was so gripping and so relevant for our times that I actually found myself LOOKING for chores to do so I could listen to more (and that is saying something because I HATE housework)! I really cared about the characters, and their choices were unpredictable but believable.
In theory, yes, but I would never listen to any audiobook in one sitting (whoever has that sort of uninterrupted time?!)
Housing again. Well, housing and life. Hard on the heels of Beautiful Ruins, a Walter that blew me away, I listened to this one. Very different. It’s told in the first person and the language is much more poetic. Gritty, gnarly, modern, hard. Time is post-financial meltdown.
The protag., Matthew, is a financial reporter who has lost his job. The family sunk their little all into a business venture: a website presenting financial news in verse! They’re about to lose their house and Matthew may well lose his wife to her high school beau. Facing hard times, the couple contemplates the ultimate comedown: sending the kids to public school! Unable to sleep, Matthew goes in the middle of the night to the 7-11 for milk for his kids’ breakfast. There he hooks up with a couple of homeboys who ask him for a lift to a party, get him high, and.... Added to this mix is Matt’s dad who lives with his family and suffers from Alzheimer’s.
The plotting is fine, characters sharp and language brilliant. Walter does Homeboy better than the homeboys. There are some actual poems, usually rhyming, but better are the descriptions of people, places and situations and his gift for symbol. A micro situation is a metaphor for a macro, perhaps universal, one. At times it’s a torrent of words, each hitting its mark. One of my favorite riffs is a description of Matthew's father’s arid, ruined property which alternates with the (arid, ruined) man himself until it’s hard to tell which is which. There’s another on the decline of newspapers, wherein the first dad who stopped reading the paper on the toilet is likened to first fish that walked on land.
Unllike some authors who should be prohibited by law from reading their own work aloud, Walter performs his own stuff pitch-perfectly.
I don't think he has written that many so far but I look forward to enjoying them all.
The turn of the phrase with 'moments' that I had to stop listening, pause and contemplate the magnitude of the protagonist's statement. Also Jess Walter reading it the way he wrote it is truly significant.
I've read all of Jess' works - the Zero was most disturbing until this one - the reality of the guy's experience - especially the angst coupled with resignation in regard to his job and most pointedly, his perception of his wife's affection for him - wow. So real I felt a little nauseated - like my best friend was telling me of the demise of his marriage - ouch.
Land of the Blind - for character development - the man is a master.
From Dylan - "When you think you've lost everything....you find out you could lose a little bit more."
Bravo Mr. Walter! I can't listen to this book while doing my cardio at the gym - makes me want to stop, towel off my sweat and stumble to the bar to drown my sorrows - or smoke weed for the first time! In my wet socks.
Jess Walter knows how to tell a story. This 7-day adventure is a stream-of-consciousness tale about a modern, post GFC (global financial crisis) family. It is fast paced and
When it comes to narration, some authors make great narrators of their own work (Bill Bryson) and some do not (Dave Berry). Jess Walter nails it. His performance is transparent, which allowed me to hear the story, not the narrator.
When the story ended, I found myself wanting to follow the main character, his family and the variety of wacky characters even further.
Yes. This is a simple story, well told. I also liked the way Jess Walter read this work. Very engaging.
Matt Prior is the only fully developed character.
At the police station.
Earl. He reminds me of most out of touch business professionals that I know.
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
I started The Financial Lives of the Poets because I loved Jess Walter's latest novel, Beautiful Ruins, so much. Matt Prior is in the middle of a mid-life crisis, which through his own choices, rapidly escalates to a mid-life catastrophe. He quits his job as a newspaper financial reporter to create poetfolio, a web site that combines investment advice and poetry. That goes over as well as a realistic person might predict, but it's also just the tip of the iceberg. Matt's wife is having a text/Facebook/in person affair with a guy from Lumberland after she has filled their garage with crap from eBay and failed to resell it, and his senile father has to move in after losing everything to a stripper. Matt is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and foreclosure, when he meets Skeet and Jamie one night at the local 7-11. They introduce him to designer marijuana, and Matt gets the brilliant idea to cash in his miniscule 401(k) and use the proceeds to buy and sell marijuana. This is how he will dig himself out of his financial chasm, but this plan also goes as well as a rational person might predict.
Matt is an interesting protagonist, very well-written by Walter. One of the most interesting things about him is that he seems to be quite aware of the financial, emotional, and bureaucratic messes that he (and our society) have made, yet he goes on making increasingly desperate decisions. Walter doesn't write Matt as hapless, so we cheer for his indomitability while shaking our heads at his incompetence. Ordinarily a character like this might irritate me, but Jess Walter's amazing writing made this a pleasure to read. Matt does learn a lesson that we should all take notice of: "The edge is so close to where we live."