Jonathan's Reviews > The Financial Lives of the Poets

The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter
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Apr 21, 2011

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bookshelves: library, paperback-picks
Read in April, 2011

I picked up this book because it had a glowing endorsement on the cover from several institutions I respect. Also, I had about 2 minutes to select a book and it was both brightly colored and on the display shelf at the library.

The book opens with our hero, Matthew Prior, near rock bottom. He's lost all his money in the financial meltdown. Also, he's pretty close to losing his house, and his wife. Things do not look good. And there's nothing like constantly impending disaster to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The best thing about this book is that I really couldn't predict what was going to happen next. Just when I felt that I'd settled into the current plotline, Walter threw a curveball. Dang it, Walter!

And the worst thing? This is a book for the beat poet generation. There's some pretty good tongue-in-cheek poetry in here, but the prose gets a little too grandiose at points.

This is the kind of book you should read while drinking a beer on a warm summer evening. If you don't analyze it too much, it's really good writing, and an engrossing story. I'm really glad the cover was so orange. Three stars.
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