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The Financial Lives of the Poets: A Novel Paperback – September 7, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
The prose is constantly engaging, witty throughout, sparkling here and there with gems of insight, fresh and delightful turns of phrase, irony within irony. The story is built around the economic downturn and the ensuing consequences that rain down on individual families, a parable for our time. There are several surprising twists in the plot. Don't read reviews that will give them away, but wait to discover them in the book.
The picture on the face of the dustjacket is of a man in free-fall toward the dark land below against the sunset-orange of the October sky. Fittingly the narrative takes place in October, traditionally the month of market crashes and Halloween. It is much more attractive than the Amazon picture suggests, a treat to behold, easy to open and easy to read.
When the awards are passed out for best novels of the year, this one should be on the short list.
Like the best literary fiction should.
The plot is sort of like "Weeds,"
I've read all of Jess Walter's books, and I think they are all terrific in their own way. Financial Lives of the Poets is his warmest, funniest, and most poignant novel. It's a scathing (but all too true) satire of life in modern day America. Despite the incredible wit and humor, Walter never goes over the top, but remains rooted in a reality with which we can all identify. Shockingly, in channeling Matt's poetic voice, Walter reveals himself to be a talented poet in his own right.
This is the best novel I've read in 2009, and plan to read it again.
I would say in today's world of economic uncertainties this book is surely a timely fictitious story of riches to rags... to living with the knowledge that it is possible to take a deep breath and live within our means... even if our means isn't what we had hoped and dreamed. There are more important things than money, big homes, and two cars.... and Matt Prior takes the long way around to finding this out.
Then it stopped being funny. I won't say where in the story.
There are no likeable characters in this book. I found it impossible to root for Matt, the protagonist, an ex-newspaper guy who still doesn't get why he's out of a job and why the industry in general is crumbling. (It's because people don't like what newspapers publish now, not because there isn't a market for journalism.) His aloof wife Lisa is equally hard to relate to. Instead of talking to him she locks herself in her bedroom and sexts with old boyfriends. And for some reason he seems to think she's some sort of saint and that maybe he deserves being cheated on.
Matt is a genuinely confused man. At the end of the book I had no hope that he would make better choices, because he didn't seem to have learned anything.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some off-color language throughout. FUNNY BOOK from the first page! Good read.Published 26 days ago by Bill Chadwick
This book perfectly captures the plight and quiet despiration of today's displaced executive. And with unequaled style and humor.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Anyone who has been affected by the 2008 financial meltdown can relate to this--very funny and awful at the same time as the narrator tries to save his house and recover from some... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kathryn Blackmun
This is the second book I've read by this author, the other being Beautiful Ruins. I find him to be an excellent writer and storyteller and I'm only sorry it took me so long to... Read morePublished 2 months ago by NJMark
I don't know if this is really five stars but to me and the time I read it it was. The tone Mr. Walter set was just what I needed to get me through my down times !!Published 3 months ago by wm thomas baker
I enjoyed this book very much. It's insightful and humorous. This is the first book by Jess Walter that I have read and I am looking forward to reading more from this author.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer