We Live in Water

We Live in Water


Book - 2013
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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.

Publisher: New York : Harper Perennial, c2013
ISBN: 9780061926624
Branch Call Number: WALTE
Characteristics: 177 p


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Aug 22, 2018

One of the best writers in America. Great plot-driven short stories set in USA north-west.

ArapahoeBethW Aug 23, 2016

We Live in Water is a solid collection of shorts. Each story is quite different from the next showing Walter's versatility in writing, yet they still fit together in their common theme of mid-life desperate men. Okay, that might sound depressing, but you truly get a full range from hilarious to heartbreaking. I was delightfully surprised when he brought in the zombies in Don't Eat Cat; my gut sank for the dad who begs for change just to buy his kid a book, and nearly died laughing from the imagery of a town of grown men riding bmx bikes in his concluding story set in his hometown Spokane. I heard Walter talk a couple of years back about his book The Financial Lives of Poets, and his honesty of his own successes and failings was memorable to me. He is worth your time to read

Jun 01, 2016

The first story in this collection, "Anything Helps" in one of my favorite short stories of all time. "Anything Helps" is about a homeless man who is trying to get enough money to buy the new Harry Potter book for his son, who is living in foster care. The heartbreaking realization that $20 is not enough to buy a new hardback is ALL TOO FAMILIAR AND REAL (#thestruggleisreal).

Oct 22, 2013

One of the better, more engaging and nuanced collections of short stories I've read in the past year. "Don't Eat Cat" puts a new spin on the zombie story and "The New Frontier" is both funny and touching. Read this instead of the vastly overrated "10th of December."

plataloco Apr 16, 2013

These stories were entertaining and insightful. They are told largely from the viewpoint of men down on their luck but trying to survive. The dialogue between the characters is entertaining and funny but also realistic. I love the last narrative, which is not really a story but more of a testament about finally embracing where you come from.

Mar 14, 2013

I am not a lover of short stories, but I read this as a challenge to read something out of my comfort zone. Since I had already read and enjoyed The Beautiful Ruins, I thought this would be a good choice. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked every story in the book, especially the first one about the homeless man, and could easily have read more. The book is quite a skinny little thing and could be read in a day by someone with a will to do so.


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Jun 02, 2016

"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."

Jul 22, 2013

"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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