The Financial Lives of Poets

The Financial Lives of Poets

The Financial Lives of the Poets – Jess Walter

Nothing like a little mid-life transcribed into ruinous yet lyrical prose to make it all interesting. Book starts out on a downbeat, and for the first hundred pages, seems to slide further down, as in, “Just how low can you go?”

The Financial Lives of Poets

I’ll be the first to admit I admire the lyrical bend to the text, plus adequate lit references, at least, at this point. Most of all, the cynicism of Gen X, got to love that.

Should anyone doubt that our miserable time here on Earth is just a sad existential joke, here is the cruelest thing I can imagine describing: my father (who is obsessed with sex, like a lot of dementia sufferers)—at seventy-one years of age, frail, balding, with a paunch that looks like it should wear its own pair of jockey shorts—recently had ten days of crazy sex with a twenty-two-year-old stripper with long smooth legs and two big round silicone funbags, and the poor son-of-a-bitch doesn’t remember a thing about it.

This is the first metaphysical question I have planned for the church hierarchy once my Catholic training is complete: Okay, your holiness. Seriously…what the hell? Page 71

Wraps a lot of material in short scene, and gives some structure to the story, the various threads.

My question, less than halfway through, “Does this existential angst make my butt look big?”

Dauntingly close to self-serving English-degreed angsty self-indulgent lyrical self-fulfillment, but also, hope? Mid-life stoner humor? And darkness. Took a dark turn, there, great pacing.

Almost spins out of control and the way it all wraps up, there is almost a tidy little bow on top. Almost.

Word-play, aforementioned pacing, running, angst-ridden interior monologues, all very funny, well-crafted. Great experience, hard to put down.

The Financial Lives of Poets

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