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We Live in Water: Stories by Jess Walter

We Live in Water: Stories (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Jess Walter

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1852063,896 (3.94)28
Title:We Live in Water: Stories
Authors:Jess Walter
Info:Harper Perennial (2013), Edition: Original, Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library

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We Live in Water: stories by Jess Walter (2013)



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from the new book box; a set of stories set in author's town of Spokane, current day. I can't tell how much is fact vs fiction. My favorite was "Going to Cardboard", about the way a homeless man pan-handles. I never thought about the homeless figuring out the different angles to get money. Most of the tales were uncomfortable to read, but very well written ( )
  nancynova | Aug 20, 2015 |
A collection of short stories. Some were good. Most were average. None will stick with me. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Giving this five stars - such great writing and stories but also SO depressing. Sometimes I thrive on this kind of darkness but I need something much lighter now. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Apr 10, 2015 |
Witty and deep...the title story is especially good. ( )
  jimnicol | Sep 26, 2014 |
Three stories in, and already mesmerized: how does he do that? How can he blow so much life into everything he creates, and how can he make me care so much about anything he writes?

Well, I'm done now. What can I say? I love this guy. He's about 50 years old, so I'll have at least another 20-25 of his books to read in the future. And that is a very good thing.

Seriously though, I've asked myself, what makes me prefer Jess Walter over legends like Ian McEwan, Cormac McCarthy, Jonathan Franzen, or other big names in contemporary fiction?

Very simply, I think it's his heart. He's got a lot of it. Too many writers, especially the ones who get the most halleluhias from the critics, are wonderful wordsmiths but they don't have much heart and soul. I understand, it's also personal chemistry. But read "The road" or "Saturday" or "Enduring Love", or the highly acclaimed "Freedom", and you'll know what I'm talking about: I don't care about phenomenal style and structure if your story feels cold, and it has has the heart of an investment banker.

Also, a note about the last story, the one about Spokane, with numbered paragraphs like a list. Did you notice how there is a perfectly balanced narrative arch in that story, too? With the main topic being Walter's relationship with his town? Brilliant.

So, once again: congratulations, Mr Walter. I loved this book, like I loved your other books. Thank you for being out there and please keep doing what you're doing. ( )
  tabascofromgudreads | Apr 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Fortunately, 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. For Walter, we do live in water, an immense soup of muddled humanity sloshing around and spilling over, soaking us all. Everything is a reflection of everything else, with no such thing as disconnection. Or isolation. Or edges. Or solid ground.
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, Allison Glock (Feb 8, 2013)
Not every writer thinks of his stories as troubled offspring, but in Mr. Walter’s case it’s a fair description. ...Nobody in this collection’s 13 pieces can be described as headed for anything but trouble.
...The short form has allowed Mr. Walter to assemble his most bleakly funny, hard-edge book in years.
added by ozzer | editNew York Yimes, Janet Maslin (Jan 31, 2013)
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"We Live in Water, the first collection of short fiction from New York Times bestselling author Jess Walter, is a suite of diverse, often comic stories about personal struggle and diminished dreams, all of them marked by the wry wit and generosity of spirit that has made him one of our most talked-about writers. In "Thief," a blue-collar worker turns unlikely detective to find out which of his kids is stealing from the family vacation fund. In "We Live in Water," a lawyer returns to a corrupt North Idaho town to find the father who disappeared thirty years earlier. In "Anything Helps," a homeless man has to "go to cardboard" to raise enough money to buy his son the new Harry Potter book. In "Virgo," a local newspaper editor tries to get back at his superstitious ex-girlfriend by screwing with her horoscope. And the collection's final story transforms slyly from a portrait of Walter's hometown into a moving contemplation of our times."--from cover, p. [4]… (more)

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