The Financial Lives of the Poets: A Novel by Jess Walter

The protagonist of Walter’s first novel since the National Book Award finalist “The Zero” is a former financial journalist turned proprietor of poetfolio.com, an ill-conceived Web site featuring investment advice written in verse. Having gambled everything on this quixotic idea, he finds himself hobbled by debt and six days from losing his family home to a mortgage company. The only way out of his predicament, he decides, is to start dealing pot. The novel riffs (often in blank verse) on everything from balloon mortgages to thong-wearing suburban moms. Despite its unlikely conceit, the novel has warmth, and its protagonist emerges as a bourgeois Everyman of the downturn. Looking up at his “angular, two-story 1917 Tudor” house, he reflects, “I actually allowed myself to believe that a person could own a piece of the world when the truth is that anything you try to own ends up owning you.”

The Financial Lives of the Poets is a comic and heartfelt novel from National Book Award nominee Jess Walter, author of Citizen Vince and The Zero, 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.