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. Darkly comic, We Live in Water is a moving collection of stories, published over the last five years in Harper’s, McSweeney’s, The Best
American Short Stories, The Best
American Non-Required Reading, Byliner,
Playboy, and elsewhere. The stories
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 con-men, of meth tweakers on desperate
odysseys and men committing suicide by fishing.
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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