Synopses & Reviews
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins and The Cold Millions comes a stunning collection about those moments when everything changes — for the better, for the worse, for the outrageous — as a diverse cast of characters bounces from Italy to Idaho, questioning their roles in life and finding inspiration in the unlikeliest places.
We all live like we’re famous now, curating our social media presences, performing our identities, withholding those parts of ourselves we don’t want others to see. In this riveting collection of stories from acclaimed author Jess Walter, a teenage girl tries to live up to the image of her beautiful, missing mother. An elderly couple confronts the fiction writer eavesdropping on their conversation. A son must repeatedly come out to his senile father while looking for a place to care for the old man. A famous actor in recovery has a one-night stand with the world's most surprising film critic. And in the romantic title story, a shy twenty-one-year-old studying Latin in Rome during “the year of my reinvention” finds himself face-to-face with the Italian actress of his adolescent dreams.
Funny, poignant, and redemptive, this collection of short fiction offers a dazzling range of voices, backdrops, and situations. With his signature wit and bighearted approach to the darkest parts of humanity, Walter tackles the modern condition with a timeless touch, once again “solidifying his place in the contemporary canon as one of our most gifted builders of fictional worlds” (Esquire).
"Jess Walter is as talented a natural storyteller as is working in American fiction these days... These stories have both zip and heart, muscle and soul." Washington Post
Stories that twist and plumb, delivering unexpected laughs while playing with what we think we know... Walter has emerged as one of the country's most dazzling novelists... so freakishly, fiendishly good, it isn't fair. Seattle Times
"Captivating... devastating... Walter is a bighearted man who excels at writing about other bighearted, if broken, men. That generosity of spirit, coupled with Walter's seeming inability to look away from the messy bits, elevates these stories from dirges to symphonies." New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Jess Walter is the bestselling author of The Cold Millions, We Live in Water, Beautiful Ruins, The Financial Lives of the Poets, The Zero, Citizen Vince, Land of the Blind, Over Tumbled Graves, and Ruby Ridge. He lives in Spokane, Washington, with his family.