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Extended Audio Sample The Financial Lives of the Poets, by Jess Walter Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,308 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jess Walter Narrator: Jess Walter Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 idea—and 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 ruin—and how we can begin to make our way back.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Walter is one of my favorite young American writers…Made me laugh more than any other book published this year.”

    Nick Hornby 

  • “Jess Walter’s The Financial Lives of the Poets is a comic, graceful parable of marriage and money troubles in which a well-meaning family man makes decisions that are seriously stupid—and entertaining and American.”

    Sarah Vowell, author of Assassination Vacation and The Wordy Shipmates

  • “When it comes to explaining to me my own too often baffling nation, there’s no one writing today whom I trust as completely as Jess Walter. His intelligence and sympathy and great wit inform every page—indeed every sentence—of his terrific new novel, The Financial Lives of the Poets.”

    Richard Russo, author of That Old Cape Magic and Empire Falls

  • “[Walter is a] deft humorist and catastrophist…dangerously astute.”

    New York Times

  • “A deliciously antic tale of an American dream gone very sour…part noir gumshoe, part average Joe, [Matt Prior] is a sharp, wide-eyed, soulful observer, with a keen eye for the layers of bureaucracy and doublespeak.”

    Washington Post

  • “Darkly funny, surprisingly tender…witheringly dead-on.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “National Book Award finalist Walter does for the nation’s bleak financial landscape what he did for 9-11 in The Zero whip-smart satire with heart.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “The novel has warmth, and its protagonist emerges as a bourgeois Everyman of the downturn.”

    New Yorker

  • “An extremely funny novel…a very smart meditation on what’s gone wrong with both the US economy and those of us who are expected to keep it running…cleverly designed and immensely entertaining.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Jess Walter’s smart and big-hearted take on our bleak national moment is a welcome relief. The Financial Lives of the Poets is a rollicking fiction and an affecting family portrait, as well as a mordantly funny cautionary tale.”

    Sam Lipsyte, author of Home Land and Venus Drive

  • “One of the best American writers working today…It’s a testament to this author’s genius that I could not stop laughing even as he drives home some necessary truths. Walter has written a profound, and profoundly funny, book; this may well be the classic novel of our post-boom era.”

    Ben Fountain, author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara

  • “The funniest way-we-live-now book of the year.”

    Time

  • “Cynical yet warm, this novel about a financial reporter (with a failing website written entirely in blank verse) is a delight.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Walter’s The Financial Lives of the Poets is gasp out loud funny. It’s also sufficiently true to life that you’re grateful it’s not your life. Middle-class mayhem is just the best, at least in Walter’s hands.”

    New York Daily News

  • “Jess Walter is a brilliant writer, one of the freshest new voices in American literature.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “Confirms Jess Walter as a writer of the first rank…his eye keen for the true values of the human heart. This is a hopped-up, raucous stunner of a novel with a hero who’s funny enough to make you weep for what we’ve lost.”

    Whitney Terrell, author of The King of Kings County and The Huntsman

  • “Would be so sad if it weren’t so funny, and so funny if it weren’t so sad…Compassionate, witty and drawn from today’s heartless world, it’s a terrific book.”

    Arizona Republic

  • “Matt Prior…is an Everyman for our parlous times.”

    Seattle Times

  • “A refreshing reminder that fiction remains a relevant, vital way to understand ourselves.”

    Oregonian (Portland, OR)

  • “In this cautionary tale of fiscal follies and collapse Walter delivers a comic and gut-wrenching fable for these impecunious times.”

    Kansas City Star

  • “America’s first Great Recession novel.”

    Spokane Spokesman-Review

  • Selected for the November 2009 Indie Next List
  • A 2009 Los Angeles Times Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 Washington State Book Award Finalist
  • A 2009 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Buddy Bell | 2/20/2014

    " This thing made me laugh more than I ever did reading pages (OK, David Sedaris aside.) Add this to my list of dream movie projects. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kathleen Foulke | 2/20/2014

    " I really liked this book. Current, funny, easy to identify with the main character. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Bookpaige | 2/18/2014

    " Really funny book. Interesting plot and overall fun read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Darla Woodworth | 2/5/2014

    " I enjoyed this depressing story! Well told. Jess Walter keep them coming! Every one of your books is so different! "

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About the Author
Author Jess Walter

Jess Walter is the author of the novels The Zero, a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award, and Citizen Vince, winner of the 2005 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel. He has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the PEN USA Literary Prize in both fiction and nonfiction. His books have been New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR best books of the year and have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in Spokane, Washington.