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Extended Audio Sample We Live in Water: Stories Audiobook, by Jess Walter Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (580 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jess Walter Narrator: Jess Walter, Edoardo Ballerini Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2013 ISBN: 9780062239914
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Brims with humanity.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “…gritty, pitch-perfect collection…Walter wrings enlightenment from dark realities.”

    People

  • “[A] badass collection…gritty, big-hearted.”

    Esquire

  • “Although he is best known as a novelist who writes of knockabout characters in dead-end situations, Mr. Walter brings that outlook to short-story writing easily, and with a vengeance.”

    New York Times

  • “Walter’s got a great ear and a genius for sympathy with America’s new dispossessed.”

    NPR’s All Things Considered

  • “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.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “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.”

    Seattle Times

  • “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.”

    Oregonian

  • “Each word is perfectly placed…Walter’s semiserious ode, ‘Statistical Abstract for my Hometown of Spokane, Washington’…brings his first story collection to a smashing end.”

    Daily Beast

  • “The debut story collection from Walter proves he’s as skilled at satire and class commentary in the short form as in his novels…Walter’s prose is straightforward and funny…A witty and sobering snapshot of recession-era America.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Walter 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…Darkly funny, sneakily sad, these stories are very, very good. You know the way websites 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 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 (starred review)

  • Selected for the March 2013 Indie Next List
  • Finalist for the 2014 Audie Award for Best Short Stories/Collections Narration

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alan | 2/16/2014

    " Great! I really enjoyed these funny, off-beat and touching stories. His eye for the everyday and absurd is hilarious. From Zombies working at Starbucks, trained not to eat cat, adult men pedalling kid's Bmx bikes, their knees up above their ears, to a man who believes one of his kids, "the girl", "little", or "middle" is a thief. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pamela Ferguson | 2/15/2014

    " A collection of short stories (any which could be expanded to an entire book) that deal with people with major challenges - homelessness, drink and drug issues, troubles with the law! An interesting and fast read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lincoln | 2/10/2014

    " It's a sometimes funny sometimes poignant collection of stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brittany Wilmes | 2/6/2014

    " Fantastic collection of gritty short stories by the multi-talented Jess Walter. The title story was heartbreaking. Walter is a modern Raymond Carver in this collection. These stories are on the opposite end of the spectrum from his bestselling Beautiful Ruins, but still moving, unsentimental, profound. His male characters (women hardly appear on these pages) are rough and accepting and resigned. They'll tug at you long after you've closed the book (which ends with the stellar Statistical Abstract for My Hometown, Spokane, Washington). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John Treat | 2/1/2014

    " I started to read this collection of short stories (which begins and ends with excellent writing) because I live in the Pacific Northwest, like Walter, and wanted to read about Spokane, which I did. But along the way I read about an almost insufferable parade of losers: crooks, dealers, molesters, abusers, most of all meth heads. I knew, sort of, that this is what I might encounter east of the Cascades, but this bleak? One handsome or beautiful thing would have gone a long ways. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle Despres | 1/6/2014

    " Great stories. Most have an understated power, chilling. I think all but two are about dads, so if that's a theme you like, read this book. I liked the idea of Don't Eat Cat, but it seemed somewhat out of place (even though thematically relevant). That's where, for me, the book went from 5 stars to 4. Wheelbarrow Kings was ok, probably the weakest tale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 12/20/2013

    " Too much swearing! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ross Mckeen | 12/8/2013

    " I love anything Jess Walter writes, though you have to like noir-ish short stories about lowlife losers to enjoy this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Summer Smith | 11/18/2013

    " A great collection of stories both funny & heartbreaking, with a preoccupation for diabetics with missing limbs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kent Winward | 11/14/2013

    " Walters cements himself as an empathetic and thoughtful fiction writer that can access the male pysche like only the very best. The blend of fragile male psyche combined with economic hardship is a definite theme in his writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin | 8/31/2013

    " This book is a book of snippets. You are allowed to drop in on various peoples's lives, look around for a bit, and then leave. Some scenes are sad while others are humorous, but all are wonderfully written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kimmo | 8/21/2013

    " Just love the writing of Jess Walter, gripping, surprising, funny and sad "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Claudine | 7/21/2013

    " I am not a big fan of short stories, but this very quick read was masterful. After enjoying his novel, "Beautiful Ruins," I thought I would check out some of his other work, and I was not disappointed. A very talented young author. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zach | 6/16/2013

    " I'd read most of these in their original form(s). Walter is on fire. His string of great books goes back further than any other working novelist. Period. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 5/18/2013

    " Witty and deep...the title story is especially good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 5/13/2013

    " Another fun set of short stories, each engaging and entertaining. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pia | 5/5/2013

    " Really loved this collection of uber-short stories, but they were also uber-sad. I also loved the autobiographical one at the end which tied up all the stories together. It gave me some insight into Jess Walter; I'd never read anything by him before. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julianna Schueler | 3/23/2013

    " Jess Walter is one of my new favorite authors! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 3/23/2013

    " Liked Beautiful Ruins, but loved the short stories more. I'm going out and getting all his books! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beena | 2/18/2013

    " Its cool book "

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About the Author
Author Jess Walter

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.

About the Narrator

Edoardo Ballerini is an actor, narrator, director, and film producer. His screen credits include the feature films Dinner Rush and Romeo Must Die, as well as the television series The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, and 24. An acclaimed narrator, he has won twelve AudioFile Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration.