Jess Walter is an American author of six novels, one book of short stories and one nonfiction book. He received the Edgar Allan Poe Award for his novel Citizen Vince in 2005, and his short story compilation We Live in Water (2013) won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award. His work has been featured in Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Harper's, Esquire, McSweeney's, and Byliner. Walter lives in Washington with his wife and three daughters.
Being a straight white male, Walter is a man who fits perfectly within the classic literary canon. He has a habit of writing “loser men” who are down on their luck and turn to questionable means to make things write. In The Financial Life of Poets, a down-on-his-luck poet who turns to illegal activity to provide for his family. So, it’s a bit of a surprise that this short story would take place from the point of view of a successful woman who is entertaining a movie star who is questioning himself.
The only part of the story that is consistent with his larger body of works is one thing: his voice. Famous Actor’s narrator and actor have very strong and clear personalities through the pages. Walter takes his typical miserable guy setup and tells the story from the perspective of a woman. It is through these voices that we learn more about these characters and begin to care about them and their histories.
What do you think the author is trying to say with the voice of Katherine? Do you think the story works better in her POV than the Famous Actor or not? And why?