The Financial Lives of the Poets

Author: Jess Walter

Type: Fiction, novel

Published: 2009

I read it: January 2011

financial lives

The Financial Lives of the Poets starts off innocuous and cute, and ends up being more emotionally fulfilling than you’d think to give it credit for. There’s a lot of broad-stroke commentary on our modern, ever-consumer-driven communities, and the constant humor in the book serves to remind us of the constant sadness of some of our situations. In the end, it’s a last-ditch cry for more poets: the author wants the world to once again (once, ever?) embrace self-reflection. As the protagonist states of his financial demise which parallels his crumbling marriage:

The truly stupid mistake was believing that when we fell, a net made of money could catch us.

Which alternative nets could we weave if only we allowed poets to lay out the instructions?

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