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The Financial Lives of the Poets


The Financial Lives of the Poets is a comic and heartfelt novel about how we get to the edge of ruin—and how we begin to make our way back. Walter tells the story of Matt Prior, who's losing his job, his wife, his house, and his mind—until, all of a sudden, he discovers a way that he might just possibly be able to save it all.... and have a pretty damn great time doing it.



  • Time's #2 Book of the Year
  • National Bestseller



"Lifts off like a rocket ... This vigorous, engaging novel is one of the sharpest satires to come along in years." -- BOSTON GLOBE


One of the "Best Novels of the Year" according to Time, New West, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, NPR's Fresh Air, The Believer, Arizona Republic, Oregonian, Salon, Kansas City Star, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


"Darkly funny, surprisingly tender ... Walter ... has an abiding faith in the ability of human beings to be decent." -- LOS ANGELES TIMES

"Funny ... engaging ... a refreshing reminder that fiction remains a relevant, vital way to understand ourselves." -- (Portland) OREGONIAN

"A writer of uncommon talent ... (Walter) has packed "The Financial Lives of the Poets" with so much life and wry truth, all of it timely and topical." -- BLOOMBERG NEWS

"Wildly funny ... Jess Walter is a brilliant writer, one of the freshest new voices in American literature. His sentences snap with energy." -- DALLAS MORNING NEWS

"A deliciously antic tale of an American dream gone very sour ... sharp, wide-eyed, soulful ... a scathing indictment of our country's character and the 'ruined systems' we labor under." -- WASHINGTON POST

"The hero of Jess Walter's novel is like a stoned Humbert Humbert ... The funniest way-we-live-now book of the year.” -- TIME

"An apt and timely version of the current Great Recession ... dangerously astute." -- NEW YORK TIMES

“Compulsively readable ... and as beautifully written as anything you'll read this year.”--THE STRANGER (Seattle)

"Extremely funny ... very smart ... cleverly designed and immensely entertaining." -- CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

"Compassionate, witty and drawn from today's heartless world, it's a terrific book." -- ARIZONA REPUBLIC

"Very funny ... Matt Prior is a terrific narrator, and Walter gives him nimble prose." -- MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL

"The novel has warmth, and its protagonist emerges as a bourgeois Everyman of the downturn." -- THE NEW YORKER

"Hilarious and timely ... bitter, funny and accurate ... Jess Walter's buoyant voice is a fresh pleasure." -- NEW WEST

"Hilarious and tragic … Walter is one of the foremost American fiction writers." -- NOVA SCOTIA CHRONICLE HERALD