Meet Matt Prior. He's about to lose his job, his wife, his house, maybe his mind. Unless…
In the winning and utterly original novels Citizen Vince and The Zero, Jess Walter ("a ridiculously talented writer" – New York Times) painted an America all his own: a land of real, flawed, and deeply human characters coping with the anxieties of their times. Now, in his warmest, funniest, and best novel yet, Walter offers a story as real as our own lives: a tale of overstretched accounts, misbegotten schemes, and domestic dreams deferred.
A few years ago, small-time finance journalist Matthew Prior quit his day job to gamble everything on a quixotic notion: a Web site devoted to financial journalism in the form of blank verse. When his big idea – and his wife's eBay resale business – ends with a whimper (and a garage full of unwanted figurines), they borrow and borrow, whistling past the graveyard of their uncertain dreams. One morning Matt wakes up to find himself jobless, hobbled with debt, spying on his wife's online flirtation, and six days away from losing his home. Is this really how things were supposed to end up for me, he wonders: staying up all night worried, driving to 7-Eleven in the middle of the night to get milk for his boys, and falling in with two local degenerates after they offer him a hit of high-grade marijuana?
Or, he thinks, could this be the solution to all my problems?
Following Matt in his weeklong quest to save his marriage, his sanity, and his dreams, The Financial Lives of the Poets is a hysterical, heartfelt novel about how we can reach the edge of ruin – and how we can begin to make our way back.
Working the weekend shift, Caroline Mabry is confronted with a confession of murder from a charming derelict. At first sceptical, when she realizes he is the former politician Charles Mason, Caroline finds herself scrambling to investigate his long and progressively darker tale.
What's left of a place when you take the ground away?
Answer: The Zero.
Brian Remy has no idea how he got here. It’s been only five days since his city was attacked, and Remy is experiencing gaps in his life – as if he were a stone skipping across water. He has a self-inflicted gunshot wound he doesn’t remember inflicting. His son wears a black armband and refuses to acknowledge that Remy is still alive. He seems to be going blind. He has a beautiful new girlfriend whose name he doesn’t know. And his old partner in the police department, who may well be the only person crazier than Remy, has just gotten his picture on a box of First Responder cereal.
And these are the good things in Brian Remy’s life. While smoke still hangs over the city, Remy is recruited by a mysterious government agency that is assigned to gather all of the paper that was scattered in the attacks. As he slowly begins to realize that he’s working for a shadowy operation, Remy stumbles across a dangerous plot, and soon realizes he’s got to track down the most elusive target of them all – himself. And the only way to do that is to return to that place where everything started falling apart.
From a young novelist of astounding talent, The Zero is an extraordinary story of searing humor and sublime horror, of blindness, bewilderment, and that achingly familiar feeling that the world has suddenly stopped making sense.