Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Title: The Financial Lives of the Poets
By: Jess Walter
As this novel set in the financial morass of 2009 opens, Matt Prior's journalism career is in a shambles. His online venture of giving financial advice in poetry form has failed, he's discovered that his wife has been engaging in a Facebook flirtation with her high school ex, and his financial planner of 20 years has informed him that not only have his family's finances sunk to the point of "fiscal Ebola," but Matt can no longer afford a financial planner. At midnight, Matt discovers that there is no milk in the fridge for his sons’ breakfast. He throws on his slippers and heads out to the local 7-Eleven. As he exits the store, two young men strike up a casual conversation with him and ask for a ride. After first not accepting their offer to smoke some marijuana with him, he does, for the first time in 20 years. He discovers that the pot of today is not like the pot of 20 years ago. In this mentally debilitated state, and in a desperate attempt to reverse his unraveling fate, he comes up with the idea that selling marijuana might help him out of his financial crisis and perhaps help save his marriage. Let's just say, things don't go as planned for “Slippers” (the name by which his new associates know him). This is a very funny novel, maybe not quite as good as Walter's more recent "Beautiful Ruins," but a lively read with lots of insightful commentary about the times we live in.
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