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We Live in Water: Stories
We Live in Water: Stories
We Live in Water: Stories
Audiolibro4 horas

We Live in Water: Stories

Escrito por Jess Walter

Narrado por Jess Walter y Edoardo Ballerini

Calificación: 3 de 5 estrellas

3/5

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Información de este audiolibro

We Live in Water, the first collection of short fiction from New York Times bestselling author Jess Walter, is a suite of diverse, often comic stories about personal struggle and diminished dreams, all of them marked by the wry wit and generosity of spirit that has made him one of our most talked-about writers. In "Thief," a blue-collar worker turns unlikely detective to find out which of his kids is stealing from the family vacation fund. In "We Live in Water," a lawyer returns to a corrupt North Idaho town to find the father who disappeared thirty years earlier. In "Anything Helps," a homeless man has to "go to cardboard" to raise enough money to buy his son the new Harry Potter book. In "Virgo," a local newspaper editor tries to get back at his superstitious ex-girlfriend by screwing with her horoscope. And the collection's final story transforms slyly from a portrait of Walter's hometown into a moving contemplation of our times.

Nota del editor

Grit & humanism...

With his trademark balance of grit & deep humanism, bestselling author Jess Walter’s takes you on a panoramic tour of his native Pacific Northwest in this Audie-nominated collection of short stories.

IdiomaEnglish
EditorialHarperAudio
Fecha de lanzamiento12 feb 2013
ISBN9780062239914
Autor

Jess Walter

Jess Walter is the author of six novels, including the bestsellers Beautiful Ruins and The Financial Lives of the Poets, the National Book Award finalist The Zero, and Citizen Vince, the winner of the Edgar Award for best novel. His short fiction has appeared in Harper's, McSweeney's, and Playboy, as well as The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. He lives in his hometown of Spokane, Washington.

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Comentarios para We Live in Water

Calificación: 3.2253521126760565 de 5 estrellas
3/5

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  • Calificación: 3 de 5 estrellas
    3/5
    An uneven collection that improves as you move forward. The first few stories are very gimmicky, and I hate cute. The first story is particularly clumsy. But there is some really great writing as you move in, some downright affecting. Worth a look, but nonessential.
  • Calificación: 5 de 5 estrellas
    5/5
    I just finished my 3rd Jess Walter book in a row. This collection short stories was short and excellent. It surrounds down and out men and how they deal with life. It is not a happy collection but it is also short so it should not overly depress you. A great portrayal of people living on the downside of life. Very creative stories and a good introduction to Jess Walter. The finally story was a statistical abstract of my hometown, which is Spokane and was terrific. This book will make you look at your own life and be grateful for the good parts.
  • Calificación: 5 de 5 estrellas
    5/5
    Short stories set in the Pacific Northwest. There are tough/not-so-tough guys, cons, ex-cons, future cons,dealers, hustlers--a range of "fringe people." There is also a gentleness in these people, especially in their dealings with children. Library book.
  • Calificación: 5 de 5 estrellas
    5/5
    Wow-- I highly recommend this audiobook! The reader does a fantastic job with the voices of these diverse and often shady characters, mostly flawed men who are trying to be better fathers. Don't skip the statistical abstract of Spokane at the end, which shows the real-life struggles and futile absurdities of some of Walter's neighbors, and helps answer the question of how he can possibly know the down-and-outers of all kinds in his stories so intimately.

    Funny writing! I often laughed out loud at the quirky characters' passionate and unique takes on life, but you should know that the stories are dark and sad, with realistically open rather than neatly resolved endings. Beautifully crafted modern realism, except for one of my favorites, Don't Eat Cat. That one brings a new twist to the zombie genre, and (slight SPOILER) it brilliantly and unexpectedly takes the reader from the heights of slapstick black comedy to the most profound depths of shared human vulnerability.

    I am going to read Walter's Beautiful Ruins next-- which could also be a fitting subtitle for this book! Catch Walter's podcast with Sherman Alexie, A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment, if you are interested in the writing life.
  • Calificación: 4 de 5 estrellas
    4/5
    This is a very interesting short story collection that forces the reader to look directly into the eye of poverty, drug addiction and some of the lesser-written about fringes of society (like scammers, petty criminals and the children of the men to live those lives). These are very gritty stories and not for those easily offended by profanity, domestic abuse and drugs. That said, I found them important in their way, and Walter's writing is almost bizarrely readable and hypnotic. He mixes humor at the human condition in with some startling moments of cruelty done to each other. All in all, a strong collection, varied in length and scope, and I flew through them. I also have to say, "Don't Eat Cat" was the very first sci-fi short story I read that I actually liked! Although you will learn more about Spokane than you may want to, I highly recommend these stories for something a bit off the beaten path.
  • Calificación: 5 de 5 estrellas
    5/5
    Walter's short stories are brilliantly written pieces about men living on the gritty edge of humanity. Humor is balanced with pathos and despair producing a very successful and readable collection. His subject matter is disturbing, but the writing compels the reader to move forward without pause to the end.
  • Calificación: 5 de 5 estrellas
    5/5
    Three stories in, and already mesmerized: how does he do that? How can he blow so much life into everything he creates, and how can he make me care so much about anything he writes?

    Well, I'm done now. What can I say? I love this guy. He's about 50 years old, so I'll have at least another 20-25 of his books to read in the future. And that is a very good thing.

    Seriously though, I've asked myself, what makes me prefer Jess Walter over legends like Ian McEwan, Cormac McCarthy, Jonathan Franzen, or other big names in contemporary fiction?

    Very simply, I think it's his heart. He's got a lot of it. Too many writers, especially the ones who get the most halleluhias from the critics, are wonderful wordsmiths but they don't have much heart and soul. I understand, it's also personal chemistry. But read "The road" or "Saturday" or "Enduring Love", or the highly acclaimed "Freedom", and you'll know what I'm talking about: I don't care about phenomenal style and structure if your story feels cold, and it has has the heart of an investment banker.

    Also, a note about the last story, the one about Spokane, with numbered paragraphs like a list. Did you notice how there is a perfectly balanced narrative arch in that story, too? With the main topic being Walter's relationship with his town? Brilliant.

    So, once again: congratulations, Mr Walter. I loved this book, like I loved your other books. Thank you for being out there and please keep doing what you're doing.
  • Calificación: 5 de 5 estrellas
    5/5
    Witty and deep...the title story is especially good.
  • Calificación: 5 de 5 estrellas
    5/5
    I read Beautiful Ruins earlier this year and liked it quite a lot, but after reading this collection, I've decided that short stories are Jess Walter's strength. I find that it is easy to put a short story collection down because there is no plot running throughout to pull me back in. But this collection kept pulling me back with its themes of hard luck and struggle, its gritty and complex characters, and its superb writing. The first story in the collection is my favorite. "Anything Helps" is about a homeless man and his dissolving relationship with his son, who is in foster care. The story begins, "Bit hates going to cardboard." With this sentence, I knew that Walter hadn't just done some research so that he could describe the life of a homeless man. Instead, he takes us inside the head and the heart of a homeless man. Bit isn't like most of the people who use cardboard signs to try to raise money. He has good handwriting, a strategy for the message he writes, and an unusual reason for needing the money. He is insightful and observant, and in a few short pages, I was rooting for him hard. But the characters in Walter's stories need more than me rooting for them. Walter doesn't allow me to escape back into my comfortable life by throwing his characters a lifeline. Instead, he leaves them where they are and leaves a little piece of me there too. Not every story in the book hit me as hard as "Anything Helps," but there are several gems in this collection. It is worth reading for the first lines alone. Each word in a short story has to count, and Walter wastes no time pulling us into the story:"I'm on my way to Vegas with my friend Bobby Rausch to rescue his stepsister from a life of prostitution." "The fanned out in the brown grass along Highway 2 like geese in a loose V, eight men in white coveralls and orange vests picking up trash." "Tommy got his kid Saturday, first time in three weeks." "I'm hungry as fuck."These weren't always easy stories to read, but they are powerful and well-written. They tell the stories that aren't often told, and they do it in a way that leaves an indelible image.
  • Calificación: 3 de 5 estrellas
    3/5
    A collection of short stories. Some were good. Most were average. None will stick with me.
  • Calificación: 4 de 5 estrellas
    4/5
    from the new book box; a set of stories set in author's town of Spokane, current day. I can't tell how much is fact vs fiction. My favorite was "Going to Cardboard", about the way a homeless man pan-handles. I never thought about the homeless figuring out the different angles to get money. Most of the tales were uncomfortable to read, but very well written
  • Calificación: 3 de 5 estrellas
    3/5
    I read the first story in this collection, "Anything Helps," when it appeared in The Best American Short Stories 2012. I loved the story for its intelligence and for its sensitive and utterly convincing portrayal of a homeless man. In my review of that book I called it "lavishly, gloriously, depressing -- in the best way possible."So I was looking forward to this collection of Walter's stories, but perhaps I should have also been a little wary. The problem is that ALL of the stories in this book are lavishly, gloriously, depressing, and that can get a bit wearying.In one of the stories, the protagonist narrates: "It's August 2003: two weeks since I found out I failed the bar exam, six months since I got divorced, a year since I caught my wife with another man, eighteen months since she caught me cheating. I'm on quite a streak." Yeah; for most characters -- real or fictional -- that would be quite a streak. But for a Jess Walter character, that's actually doing pretty well. This story ("The New Frontier") is one of the less grim in the book; many of his characters have far worse circumstances to endure than that "streak."So (as others have noted) Walter is a terrific writer. He's got skill and grace and sensitivity and inventiveness. He can portray characters whose lives are (hopefully) vastly distant from yours and mine, and make us believe that he's got every tiniest particle of that character utterly and exactly right. But jeeze -- thirteen stories as grim and dreary and depressing as these is a lot to take. I recommend this collection, but I recommend reading it sporadically. Rather than just plowing along from one story to the next, you'd be well-advised to alternate this book with a David Sedaris collection or something of that sort.
  • Calificación: 5 de 5 estrellas
    5/5
    Giving this five stars - such great writing and stories but also SO depressing. Sometimes I thrive on this kind of darkness but I need something much lighter now.
  • Calificación: 4 de 5 estrellas
    4/5
    Great collection of stories focusing on everyday people with genuine, believable problems...quite a bit of a departure from his recent novel, Beautiful Ruins, which I also loved. While the grandiosity of Hollywood and the Italian coast form the setting for that excellent love story, this collection is (mostly) set inside the more down-to-earth Spokane city limits. All of these stories struck an emotional chord with me. I remember reading "Anything Helps" for the first time in McSweeny's, tears running down my face by the last page. I expected a similar catharsis for this collection, and while I didn't have that same powerful reaction to all of these stories (thank goodness, I'd be an emotional wreck), I found myself connecting with most of the characters and readily empathizing with them (well, maybe not quite as much with the meth addicts, but still, they were a sorrowful lot). Excellent read. Highly recommended.
  • Calificación: 4 de 5 estrellas
    4/5
    Jess Walter writes tough stories with soft centers. In “We Live in Water,” his 2013 collection of stories (written before “Beautiful Ruins” gave him prominence in the literary world), he chooses characters, mostly men, who have lived hard lives and made lots of mistakes. If their lives are a mess, it's mostly their own fault.Oren Dressens, in the title story, takes his little boy to a showdown with a hood whom he has both stolen from and cuckolded. Years later the son returns to the scene to try to discover what happened to his father.In “Helpless Little Things,” a grifter uses innocent-looking homeless young people to beg for money for Greenpeace, which then goes into his own pocket.Walter explores a nightmarish future in “Don't Eat Cat.” In “The New Frontier,” one of the best stories in the collection, two men go to Las Vegas to rescue the stepsister of one of them from a life of prostitution. The smarter one narrates the story, which turns out to be as hilarious as it is poignant.Another excellent tale, “Thief,” tells of a father who knows one of his three kids is stealing coins from the family's vacation fund, kept in a big jar. But which one? He sets a trap to try to discover the answer.“Anything Helps” is the story of a panhandler with the least likely reason for begging you can imagine.Some of the 13 stories in the book don't hit the mark, but most of them do.
  • Calificación: 4 de 5 estrellas
    4/5
    GREAT
  • Calificación: 3 de 5 estrellas
    3/5
    Jess Walter’s novels are liberally sprinkled with wit and daring (who else would write a novel titled, The Financial Lives of the Poets), a recognition that a life – any life – is filled with drama and pathos (and opportunities for wit), and a curious affection for the underside of Washington State. So it is no surprise to find that his short stories in this, his first collection, mirror the preoccupations of his novels. The only question is whether he succeeds as well in the short form as his does when he can be expansive.The answer is that, for the most part, he does succeed. A few stories here are excellent: the brilliantly funny and poignant, “Anything Helps”; the gritty tale of sacrifice in the title story, “We Live in Water”; the toughly observed, “Wheelbarrow Kings”. Each of these stories is narrowly focused, concentrated, if you will, and I think that is when Walter’s natural zesty exuberance works best. (The same might also be said of his novels.) Some of these stories feel a bit borrowed. “Don’t Eat Cat” – a zombie tale of loss and regret – and “Virgo” – a study in obsession (but also funny) – might cause you to think of George Saunders. In others I thought I saw the influence of Richard Ford (can anyone make use of Deer Lodge prison in Montana without raising the “Ford” flag?) and Lorrie Moore . That’s no bad thing, of course. But it suggests that Walter is still (at least in some of these stories) reaching for his own unique voice. The excellent stories mentioned above and the overall quality of the writing give reason for hope that, if Walter continues to follow the rigours of the short form, he will more consistently hit all of the right notes. But I hope he doesn’t stop writing novels. Gently recommended.
  • Calificación: 5 de 5 estrellas
    5/5
    I’ve read two of Walter’s novels – The Financial Lives of Poets and Beautiful Ruins – and thoroughly enjoyed both. I know he gets lots of credit because his body of work covers multiple genres, and this collection offers more proof of his rather amazing versatility. There are of a lot of stories here about druggies and criminals and people who’ve lived on the edges of criminal lives, but none of the pieces read like true-crime or hard-boiled genre stories. They all offer great insights into the mindsets of people leading these seedy or down and out lives. You’ll be surprised just how sympathetic you’ll feel for a homeless man who can’t get his act together enough to raise his son or a crystal meth addict who cluelessly tries to transport an antiquated TV to a pawn shop. This collection simply offers more proof to readers that as long as Walter’s name is on the book jacket, regardless of the genre or form he’s writing in, he’ll deliver the goods and make the time you invest with him well worth your while.

    The 13 stories, mostly set on the West Coast, and Northwest in particular, are:

    1.Anything Helps – 16 pp – A great portrait of a homeless man who lost his wife and son and is trying, not very successfully, to get his act back together to get his son back. Some great funny and poignant scenes about the lies he has to tell the victims of his panhandling efforts in order to fulfill their stereotypes of him, and the exchange that takes place between his son’s Christian foster mother who objects to the Harry Potter book he wants to give his son.

    2.We Live in Water – 24 pp – In late 1950s Ohio, a man gets in trouble with a bookie/pimp because he slept with the man’s wife and stole a little money from his safe. The story is split between the time the man crosses the powerful criminal, and has to give up his son, and a period 34 years later, when the son revisits the town and tries to learn what happened to his father.

    3.Thief – 12 pp – A great portrait of a singular obsession. A father suspects one of his three children is stealing from the jar of coins he keeps in his bedroom closet to save for a family vacation.

    4.Can a Corn – 3 pp – An old man I a prison with furloughs for dialysis treatment would rather spend his time going fishing, regardless of the health consequences.


    5.Virgo – 11 pp - - A newspaper editor gets his revenge against an ex-girlfriend when she leaves him for an old boyfriend by changing her daily horoscope, and then his obsession with her takes an even more sinister turn.

    6.Helpless Little Things – 14 pp – The title has an ironic meaning as a con man who uses homeless teenagers to do fake charity fund-raising on street corners meets his match from an unlikely source.

    7.Please – 2 pp – Another short-short about a divorced father who worries about leaving his son with his druggie ex-wife and her boyfriend.

    8.Don’t Eat Cat – 21 pp – In a futuristic world, a man discovers he has cancer but can't get government approval to treat it, so he goes looking for the great love of his life, an ex-girlfriend who became addicted to a drug that turned her into a zombie.

    9.The New Frontier – 19 pp – A man heads with an old high buddy to Las Vegas to find the friend’s sister, who they suspect has turned to a life of prostitution. The city of sin has more than a few surprises in store for them.

    10.The Brakes – 5 pp – A father takes his son to the garage where he works and tries to protect a racist, senile woman from getting conned by the other mechanics at the garage.

    11.The Wolf and The Wild – 14 pp – A convicted embezzler, who still has millions in the bank, does community outreach by reading to kids at an inner-city school. He discovers, much to his disappointment, that his efforts have little impact.

    12.Wheelbarrow Kings – 15 pp – Very funny story about two bumbling crystal meth addicts who have a day of adventure before their score, as they try to move an old TV someone gives them to a pawn shop.

    13.Statistical Abstract for My Hometown of Spokane, Washington – 15 pp – Not sure if this a story or an actual essay about why Walter still lives in his downtrodden and crime-ridden hometown or Spokane, filled with sad but funny points of trivia about the city.
  • Calificación: 4 de 5 estrellas
    4/5
    This is one of the best short story collections I've read in a long time. Usually when I read short story collections, the stories tend to have a similar tone, but Walter has the ability to deftly handle a variety of different kinds of stories, all with great skill. There were a few that did not resonate with me, but the stories that did made such an impact that this is among one of my best reads of 2013 so far. I liked it so much that upon completing the book, I promptly purchased his novel, "Beautiful Ruins," a book which previously had not piqued my interest. My personal favorites from this collection are "We Live in Water," "Virgo," and "Don't Eat Cat." I also really enjoyed his last piece about his hometown Spokane, though I don't recall the title. It's been years since I've been to Spokane, but in this interesting piece, he does a great job of capturing it's essence.
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