Meet Matt Prior. He's about to lose his job, his wife, his house, maybe his mind. Unless . . . In the winning and utterly original novels Citizen Vince and The Zero , Jess Walter ("a ridiculously talented writer" New York Times ) painted an America all his own: a land of real, flawed, and deeply human characters coping with the anxieties of their times. Now, in his warmest, funniest, and best novel yet, Walter offers a story as real as our own lives: a tale of overstretched accounts, misbegotten schemes, and domestic dreams deferred. A few years ago, small-time finance journalist Matthew Prior quit his day job to gamble everything on a quixotic notion: a Web site devoted to financial journalism in the form of blank verse. When his big ideaand his wife's eBay resale business ends with a whimper (and a garage full of unwanted figurines), they borrow and borrow, whistling past the graveyard of their uncertain dreams. One morning Matt wakes up to find himself jobless, hobbled with debt, spying on his wife's online flirtation, and six days away from losing his home. Is this really how things were supposed to end up for me , he wonders: staying up all night worried, driving to 7-Eleven in the middle of the night to get milk for his boys, and falling in with two local degenerates after they offer him a hit of high-grade marijuana? Or, he thinks, could this be the solution to all my problems? Following Matt in his weeklong quest to save his marriage, his sanity, and his dreams, The Financial Lives of the Poets is a hysterical, heartfelt novel about how we can reach the edge of ruinand how we can begin to make our way back.
One of the best books of the year....
By Richard L. Pangburn - September 27, 2009
Jess Walter writes here in the tradition of James Thurber, E. B. White, and Peter DeVries. This is one of the very best books of 2009, at once a mid-life crisis novel, a work of social and political criticism, and a comic romp.
The prose is constantly engaging, witty throughout, sparkling here and there with gems of insight, fresh and delightful turns of phrase, irony within irony. The story is built around the economic downturn and the ensuing consequences that rain down on individual families, a parable for our time. There are several surprising twists in the plot. Don't read reviews that will give them away, but wait to discover them in the book.
The picture on the face of the dustjacket is of a man in free-fall toward the dark land below against the sunset-orange of the October sky. Fittingly the narrative takes place in October, traditionally the month of market crashes and Halloween. It is much more attractive than the Amazon picture suggests, a treat... read more
Hilarious, warm and true
By LA Critic - October 14, 2009
I couldn't put down Jess Walter's latest novel. What a voice! And the way he describes exactly what is going on in the world economy and how we average men have to deal with it is not only scathing, but simple and real. He should be writing Obama's speeches! I just loved reading about Matt's adventures as he tries to save his family from ruin, but just kept driving himself deeper into the well. I honestly didn't know how it would end, and when it did, I was floored. I was wondering what happens now? But Mr. Walters completed the journey just the way it should end--with humor poignancy and again, realism. We may fall flat on our faces, but we get up and start all over again. Isn't that how it should be??
a review in verse
By Greg Olear "FATHERMUCKER" - October 14, 2009
Funny, lyrical, inspiring, it reads Like the best literary fiction should. The plot is sort of like "Weeds," But good.
The author of Fist Stick Knife Gun brings powerful new insight to the lives of boys in America today: "More and more I have become concerned with what boys think they should be, and what they believe ...