Jess Walter is the goods, one of those writers who creates instant fans. It doesn’t matter what you read first – The Financial Lives of the Poets, Beautiful Ruins, Citizen Vince – readers experiencing Walter’s slyly humorous voice and gotta-know-what-happens plots for the first time always want to read every word he’s written.
For me it was his brilliant take on the man-wakes-up-in-a-room-with-amnesia trope, The Zero. Kafkaesque, haunting, and brilliant, The Zero turned me into a blathering idiot for days. I bothered anyone who would listen about it. Thankfully he had a breakout hit with Beautiful Ruins, so now all I have to do is say is, “This is by the same guy who wrote Beautiful Ruins; you should read it.” It’s easier for everyone.
What’s fun about We Live in Water is seeing Walter get playful – stepping outside his comfort genre and into speculative sci-fi with “Don’t Eat Cat,” perfectly capturing the existential crush of suburban living in “Thief,” or making the last five thrillers you read look like amateur hour in “Helpless Little Things.”
So you should read Jess Walter’s We Live in Water; just be prepared to blather about it for days.