Books by Jess Walter
NPR stories about Jess Walter
Welcome to awards season. Between the Golden Globes, the SAG awards, and the upcoming Oscars, it's enough to make anyone question America's fixation on movies. But author Kevin Roose says that Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins, a novel with a funny take on the movie industry, shows that there's something important going on behind the glitz.
In softcover fiction, Maria Semple chronicles a daughter's search for her missing mother, Jess Walter imagines a glimmering but futile courtship, and Lionel Shriver delivers a tongue-in-cheek take on terrorism. In nonfiction, Victoria Sweet recounts her unusual medical training.
2012 was a very jittery year — what with the presidential election, extreme weather events and the looming "fiscal cliff." Fresh Air critic Maureen Corrigan found that her favorite fiction and nonfiction this year directly confronted the atmospheric uncertainty of the age.
Jess Walter's latest novel spans decades and traverses the Atlantic to create a kaleidoscopic collection of "beautiful ruins." Characters include a hotelier, a young script reader and real-life movie star Richard Burton. NPR's Maureen Corrigan says the book is a "literary miracle."
Many of the picks from Fresh Air's book critic look back at tough times from earlier eras, or lives upended by disaster. The best books of the year include a work of nonfiction that reveals the hidden fantasy land of a founder of American industry, and a novel that doesn't apologize for the bad behavior of its characters. Plus, a bonus mystery pick.
Day-to-day tragedy collides with modern internet culture in this novel about love, poetry, and life 2.0. Jess Walter's The Financial Lives Of The Poets manages to be just the right balance of satire and heart.
Jess Walter is the author of four novels. His latest, The Zero, is a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award. Walter is also an investigative reporter. He lives in Spokane, Washington.
There are some books that are so good that you just can't get on with your life until you've turned the last page. Nancy Pearl offers books that make it tempting to call in sick just to be able to read to the end without stopping.
Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan lists her favorite books of 2005, including novels by Mary Gaitskill and Kazuo Ishiguro, and memoirs by Joan Didion and J.R. Moehringer.