We Live in Water

Thoughts Stories by Jess Walter, Harper Perennial 2013, 179 pages

Challenge: None

Genre/Theme: Short Stories, Contemporary Lit

Type/Source: Tradeback / Library

“Make them want to give you the thing you’re taking.”

What It’s About: When I tell you that I go into books without knowing anything, I am not lying.

I may add a book onto my tbr on only the word of a trusted friend. I may see a quick blurb of “It’s SOOOO good!” and decide I’ll have to read that some day. Then, years later, I’ll decide I need to finally open said book and not read the blurb on the back, not do any preliminary wondering what it’s about, and just start reading.

In this book’s case, I didn’t realize this was a short story collection. Huh.

Or I did once/maybe and promptly forgot it. I saw it on Jess Walter’s oeuvre and then saw it listed as available for checkout at my library’s website. Clicked!

Oh. It’s a short story collection. Shrug. Proceed.

“On the bright side, I have figured out how to fix the American educational system. End it at sixth grade.”

“Brilliant. Then what?”

“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.” Wade pushed his glass forward, “How’s that for a campaign platform?”

Thoughts: “Helpless Little Things” is good. “Don’t Eat Cat” is startling! My favorite is “The New Frontier”. I laughed with “The Wheelbarrow Kings”.

There’s an empathy and an awareness and the weariness of not knowing what to do to fix the world. Humor and sadness and just getting by. Do what you can and be kind.

But this is the Apocalypse? Fuck you! It’s always the Apocalypse. The world hasn’t gone to shit. The world is shit.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned, sadly. (If Walter wants to add a pie drop in his next book. . . (hint,hint))



Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

2 thoughts on “We Live in Water

  1. Commenting again since my first comment didn’t post – it’s doing that weird thing where it won’t post if I’m on a desktop computer – it does that with one other blog I follow. But if I use my phone or laptop it works. SO WEIRD. Anyway, I loved this book. I love Jess Walter. You’re so right, about his empathy. He clearly cares about his flawed but human characters. I would reread this collection in the future. Something I can’t say for most short story collections.

    1. I suggest your clear your cache. (At least that is what the IT helpdesk would probably suggest first!)

      I am SOOOO looking forward to the Financial Lives of Poets! it’s up next.

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