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We Live in Water: Stories
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Description

ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2019

From the New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins, the first collection of short fiction from Jess Walter—a suite of diverse and searching stories about personal struggle and diminished dreams, all of them marked by the wry wit, keen eye, and generosity of spirit that has made him a bookseller and reader favorite

These twelve stories—published over the last five years in Harper's, The Best American Short Stories, McSweeney's, Playboy, and other publications—veer from comic tales of love to social satire to suspenseful crime fiction, from hip Portland to once-hip Seattle to never-hip Spokane, from a condemned casino in Las Vegas to a bottomless lake in the dark woods of Idaho. This is a world of lost fathers and redemptive conmen, of meth tweakers on desperate odysseys and men committing suicide by fishing.

We Live in Water is a darkly comic, heartfelt collection of stories from a "ridiculously talented writer" (New York Times), "one of the freshest voices in American literature" (Dallas Morning News).

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/12/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062099204
ASIN:
B0089LOEHW
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Jess Walter. (2013). We Live in Water: Stories. Harper Perennial.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jess Walter. 2013. We Live in Water: Stories. Harper Perennial.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jess Walter, We Live in Water: Stories. Harper Perennial, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jess Walter. We Live in Water: Stories. Harper Perennial, 2013. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
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Date Updated:
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        Jess Walter is the author of six novels, including the bestsellers Beautiful Ruins and The Financial Lives of the Poets, the National Book Award finalist The Zero, and Citizen Vince, the winner of the Edgar Award for best novel. His short fiction has appeared in Harper's, McSweeney's, and Playboy, as well as The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. He lives in his hometown of Spokane, Washington.

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shortDescription

ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2019

From the New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins, the first collection of short fiction from Jess Walter—a suite of diverse and searching stories about personal struggle and diminished dreams, all of them marked by the wry wit, keen eye, and generosity of spirit that has made him a bookseller and reader favorite

These twelve stories—published over the last five years in Harper's, The Best American Short Stories, McSweeney's, Playboy, and other publications—veer from comic tales of love to social satire to suspenseful crime fiction, from hip Portland to once-hip Seattle to never-hip Spokane, from a condemned casino in Las Vegas to a bottomless lake in the dark woods of Idaho. This is a world of lost fathers and redemptive conmen, of meth tweakers on desperate odysseys and men committing suicide by fishing.

We Live in...

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fullDescription

ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2019

From the New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins, the first collection of short fiction from Jess Walter—a suite of diverse and searching stories about personal struggle and diminished dreams, all of them marked by the wry wit, keen eye, and generosity of spirit that has made him a bookseller and reader favorite

These twelve stories—published over the last five years in Harper's, The Best American Short Stories, McSweeney's, Playboy, and other publications—veer from comic tales of love to social satire to suspenseful crime fiction, from hip Portland to once-hip Seattle to never-hip Spokane, from a condemned casino in Las Vegas to a bottomless lake in the dark woods of Idaho. This is a world of lost fathers and redemptive conmen, of meth tweakers on desperate odysseys and men committing suicide by fishing.

We Live in Water is a darkly comic, heartfelt collection of stories from a "ridiculously talented writer" (New York Times), "one of the freshest voices in American literature" (Dallas Morning News).

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times Book Review
      • content: "Walter is a bighearted man who excels at writing about other bighearted, if broken, men. That generosity of spirit coupled with Walter's seeming inability to look away from the messy bits, elevates these stories from dirges to symphonies."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly, starred review
      • content: "Walter (Beautiful Ruins) writes-beautifully. . . . Darkly funny, sneakily sad, these stories are very, very good. The algorithm for this debut collection is straightforward: if you like to read, you'll like this book."
      • premium: False
      • source: Daily Beast
      • content: "Jess Walter, who is revered for his novels, shows a gritty side in these clear-cut stories... Each word is perfectly placed...[Walter] brings his first story collection to a smashing end."
      • premium: False
      • source: Janet Maslin, New York Times
      • content: "Mr. Walter brings (his) outlook to short-story writing easily, and with a vengeance... His most bleakly funny, hard-edge book in years."
      • premium: False
      • source: Esquire
      • content: "This badass collection aligns itself... with Walter's gritty, bighearted novels."
      • premium: False
      • source: Shelf Awareness
      • content: "[Walter] can mine the least scintilla of humor and wit from his characters' broken lives—people whose dreams will surely not come true but who somehow keep trying."
      • premium: False
      • source: Entertainment Weekly
      • content: "Brims with humanity. A-"
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "Wildly entertaining and thought-provoking fiction from a prodigiously talented writer."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews, starred review
      • content: "This debut story collection from Walter proves he's as skilled at satire and class commentary in the short form as in his novels...A witty and sobering snapshot of recession-era America."
      • premium: False
      • source: NPR's All Things Considered
      • content: "Walter's got a great ear and a genius for sympathy with America's new dispossessed."
      • premium: False
      • source: Seattle Times
      • content: "Deliver[s] unexpected laughs while playing with what it is we think we know...As a reader, I delight in Walter's work. As a writer (humor me here), I curse. He's so freakishly, fiendishly good, it isn't fair."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Oregonian (Portland)
      • content: "With a cineaste's eye, [Walter] mov[es] the action at a terrific pace, such velocity and narrative swing...What he makes us understand is bracing, clear. Fiction or no, it is here we see Walter as trusted interlocutor, saying, let me show you, this is where we are now."
      • premium: False
      • source: San Francisco Chronicle
      • content: "It is perhaps a grim and fatalistic vision that Jess Walter presents in We Live in Water, yet one that in today's America seems all-too-recognizable; no, we may not all live in water, but at one time or another, we have all lived in Spokane."
      • premium: False
      • source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
      • content: "For over a year, I've been waiting for a story collection to floor me the way Alan Heathcock did with Volt. The 13 stories of Jess Walter's We Live in Water come close."
      • premium: False
      • source: Newsday
      • content: "Black humor is what we expect from Jess Walter. What is different is that the stories give us a sense of the writer's heart we haven't gotten from the parade of bright novels."
      • premium: False
      • source: Marketplace.org, The Big Book
      • content: "There's a certain magic that comes with reading a good story. Even one that's not about a magical time...[Walter's] collection is full of tragic characters — the homeless, the drug-addicted and those who have lost everything to gambling debts. But it is not without humor."
      • premium: False
      • source: Bookreporter.com
      • content: "Displays... fearless, unflinching prose in these short stories."
      • premium: False
      • source: People
      • content: "...gritty, pitch-perfect collection...Walter wrings enlightenment from dark realities."
      • premium: False
      • source: Portland Mercury
      • content: "Incrementally, profoundly, brutally, [Walter] pulls back the curtain... We Live in Water is a great collection, in fact, and an important contribution to the literature of our region."
      • premium: False
      • source: USA Today
      • content: "Vintage Walter...quirky. And fun."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from December 24, 2012
        Title notwithstanding, most of the characters in Walter’s short stories live in Spokane, Wash., but they are often under water, or nearly so. Spokane, as Walter makes clear, bears little relationship to Portland or Seattle, the Pacific Northwest’s name-brand cities. There are no locavores here, and the one potential latte drinker is stuck in Spokane doing his court-mandated community service and prefers scotch, anyway. Walter (Beautiful Ruins) writes—beautifully—about hard luck divorced dads, addicts, con artists, working men trying to keep things together, and a few zombies who’ve made the Seattle of the future look a lot like the Spokane of the present, which Walter describes as a place where, no matter how big your house is, “you’re never more than three blocks from a bad neighborhood.” Both “Anything Helps” and “Don’t Eat Cat” (rule #1 for zombies trying to hold down a job and an apartment) are included in 2012 best-of anthologies, but good as they are, the star is the title story, a heartbreaker set in a formerly seedy, now touristed part of Idaho. 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. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins and Associates.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from December 15, 2012
        The debut story collection from Walter proves he's as skilled at satire and class commentary in the short form as in his novels (Beautiful Ruins, 2012, etc.). Most of the 13 stories here are set in the present-day Northwest, where the Great Recession has left middle-class family men bereft and brought the destitute into the spotlight. "Anything Helps" is told from the point of view of a homeless man whose effort to acquire a Harry Potter novel emphasizes his undoing as a stable parent. "Statistical Abstract for My Hometown of Spokane, Washington" is a parody of poker-faced government reports, revealing the private frustration of a man living near a battered-women's shelter. Drug addicts and hard-luck cases abound here, but these stories aren't melodramatic or even dour. Walter's prose is straightforward and funny, and like Richard Russo, he knows his protagonists are concerned with their immediate predicaments, not the socioeconomic mechanisms that put them there. "Wheelbarrow Kings," for instance, follows two meth addicts trying to pawn a projection TV, and the story's power comes from Walter's deft tracking of their minute-by-minute, dollar-by-dollar concerns and their clumsy but canny attempts to resolve them. Still, Walter can't resist a zombie story--the quintessential genre for socioeconomic allegories--and in "Don't Eat Cat," he's written a stellar one. Set in a near future in which a powerful club drug has bred rage-prone, feline-craving addicts, the story deftly blends romance, comic riffs on politically correct culture and dystopian horror. Women are largely absent except as lost objects of affection, but the men are not simply of a type: The small-time scam artist in "Helpless Little Things" bears little resemblance to the convicted white-collar criminal in "The Wolf and the Wild," though they both reflect Walter's concerns about capitalism gone bad. A witty and sobering snapshot of recession-era America.

        COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from January 1, 2013
        This is the first collection of short stories, all of which have appeared previously in Harper's and McSweeney's, among other literary publications, from the much-acclaimed, best-selling Walter (Beautiful Ruins, 2012). 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. In Anything Helps, a homeless father has lost his wife to a heroin overdose and his son to social services. Determined to buy the latest Harry Potter novel for his son, he brings a practiced eye to his begging, opting to go to cardboard. In the title story, Walter expertly uses the tropes of crime fiction to tell the grim story of an unrepentant gambler who steals from the wrong person, and his young son, who is forever haunted by his father's disappearance. In Don't Eat Cat, Walter turns to zombie fiction to unleash a hilarious satire of political correctness ( I'm not one of those reactionaries, but hiring zombies for food service? I just think that's wrong ). Wildly entertaining and thought-provoking fiction from a prodigiously talented writer.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

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