We Live in Water
StoriesBook - 2013
From New York Times bestselling author, the first collection of short fiction from Jess Walter--a suite of diverse and searching stories about personal struggle and diminished dreams, all of them marked by the wry wit, keen eye, and generosity of spirit that has made him a bookseller and reader favorite
Stories in We Live in Water range from comic tales of love to social satire and suspenseful crime fiction. Traveling from hip Portland to once-hip Seattle to never-hip Spokane, to a condemned casino in Las Vegas and a bottomless lake in the dark woods of Idaho, this is a world of lost fathers and redemptive con men, of personal struggles and diminished dreams.
In title story "We Live in Water", a lawyer returns to his corrupt hometown to find his father, who disappeared 30 years earlier. In "Thief," a blue-collar worker turns unlikely detective to find out which of his kids is stealing from the family fund.
"Anything Helps" sees a homeless man try to raise money to buy his son the new Harry Potter book; and in "Virgo," a newspaper editor attempts to get back at his superstitious ex-girlfriend by screwing with her horoscope.
Also included are "Don't Eat Cat" and "Statistical Abstract of My Hometown, Spokane, Washington," both of which achieved cult status after their first publication online.
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"If I give you a twenty, honestly, what are you gonna get?
The new Harry Potter book.
You are one funny fucker.
Thanks. You too."
"Bit slides the book forward. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. What's a hallow, anyway? he asks. The clerk takes the book and runs it through the scanner. I guess it's British for hollow. I don't read those books. I read the first one. It was pretty good.
Bit looks around Auntie's Bookstore: big and open, a few soft chairs between the rows of books. So what do you read?
Palahniuk. That'll be twenty-eight fifty-six.
Bit whistles. Counts out the money and sets it on the counter. Shit, he thinks, seventy cents short."
"I've figured out how to fix the American education system. End it at sixth grade. Lock them up in empty factories, give them all the Red Bull, condoms, and nachos they want, pipe in club music, and check back when they're twenty-five. Anyone still alive, we send to grad school."
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