We Live in Water: Book summary and reviews of We Live in Water by Jess Walter

We Live in Water

Stories

by Jess Walter

We Live in Water
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2013
    192 pages
    Genre: Short Stories & Essays

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Book Summary

The first collection of short fiction from Jess Walter, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins, We Live in Water is a diverse suite of stories marked by the wry wit and generosity of spirit that has made him one of America's most talked-about writers.

Stories in We Live in Water range from comic tales of love to social satire and suspenseful crime fiction. Traveling from hip Portland to once-hip Seattle to never-hip Spokane, to a condemned casino in Las Vegas and a bottomless lake in the dark woods of Idaho, this is a world of lost fathers and redemptive con men, of personal struggles and diminished dreams.

In title story "We Live in Water", a lawyer returns to his corrupt hometown to find his father, who disappeared 30 years earlier. In "Thief," a blue-collar worker turns unlikely detective to find out which of his kids is stealing from the family fund.

"Anything Helps" sees a homeless man try to raise money to buy his son the new Harry Potter book; and in "Virgo," a newspaper editor attempts to get back at his superstitious ex-girlfriend by screwing with her horoscope.

Also included are "Don't Eat Cat" and "Statistical Abstract of My Hometown, Spokane, Washington," both of which achieved cult status after their first publication online.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The debut story collection from Walter proves he's as skilled at satire and class commentary in the short form as in his novels." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Darkly funny, sneakily sad, these stories are very, very good. You know the way Web sites recommend books by saying if you liked this, you'll like that? The algorithm for this debut collection is straightforward: if you like to read, you'll like this book. " - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. With their visceral depictions of the homeless, the bereft, and the marginalized, often presented with a signature blend of wicked humor and heartbreaking tenderness, Walter's intense stories speak directly to the contemporary American experience... Wildly entertaining and thought-provoking fiction from a prodigiously talented writer."" - Booklist

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Reader Reviews

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Diane S.

We live in water
I loved this grouping of short stories. Not really sure why, his prose is not beautiful but rather plain, but boy can he put stories together. Absolutely loved that he took people that we tend to overlook and often condemn, the addicts, the prostitutes, the thieves, many of life's dispossessed people and he gave them a human face. Found a tiny chink of goodness that makes one want to take another look and keep reading to find out where he is going next. My two favorites were actually the first two stories but I also enjoyed his view of post apocalyptic fiction, which was actually a longer story. Will definitely read more from this author.

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Author Information

Jess Walter Author Biography

A former National Book Award finalist and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Jess Walter is the author of six novels, one nonfiction book and one collection of stories. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages and his essays, short fiction, criticism and journalism have been widely published, in Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Harper's, Esquire, McSweeney's, Byliner, Playboy, ESPN the Magazine, Details and many others.

Link to Jess Walter's Website

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