Member Reviews

In only 41 pages, Jess Walter has not only depicted a 40-year relationship between a father and son, but set their entire milieu. Somehow he took the sadness inherent in the setup between the two men (the father is a hyper-masculine 1950s lothario, the son a thoughtful, educated gay man) and made it hilarious and uplifting.

Wish I could buy about 40 copies of Town & Country and scatter them around at the next family gathering! Also wish the idea of a retro "senior residential facility" would catch on -- legal disclaimers and all!

Thanks to NetGalley and Scribd for an advance readers copy.

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2.5 stars.
It was interesting, heartbreaking and had it`s funny moments. Though i felt like it went a bit fast for my liking. It could have had things happening, but slower and taking more time so we could get a bit more information and meat on the bones, so to speak. But it was interesting.

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A wonderful story by Jess Walter .A story of a gay son caring for his father who is suffering from dementia.Moving real emotional .#netgalley#scribid.

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This was a moving and funny short story / novella that will feel familiar to anyone who has ended up caring for someone who is experiencing dementia or Alzheimer's. The narrator's character could be a bit more developed, but the story still has the author's signature sardonic humor and pathos. Looking forward to his next longer work.

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to review a digital ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

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Sweet funny and irreverent story about a son and father that packed a little punch. Writing is so good, as usual. Short story I actually enjoyed! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher!

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A middle-aged gay man decides to put his 75 year old increasingly senile father into care but he can’t find the right place for the unrelentingly hard-drinking/smoking/randy old salty sonuvabitch - until he comes across the unique location of Town & Country…

Jess Walter is finally back this year with a new novel, The Cold Millions, and a new short story, Town & Country, and it’s been too long - Walter needs to publish more often! If you’re unfamiliar with this guy and want to know where to start, We Live in Water was an excellent short story collection and I also highly recommend his novels Citizen Vince and The Financial Lives of the Poets. That said, Town & Country isn’t amazing but it’s a decent story.

It’s well-written, like all Walter’s work, and it feels like a convincing portrayal of what it must be like to come out to your parents and figuring out your sexuality in small town America. Jay, our narrator, has to keep reminding his senile dad that he’s gay and that’s why he doesn’t have a wife/girlfriend, and the scene where he yells in a bar to his drunk dad that he’s gay for the umpteenth time was funny.

The story’s never boring but it’s lacking a certain level of invention to make it memorable. What Town & Country turned out to be was a kinda neat idea for a care home but once the story’s over I had that “that’s it?” feeling - it’s a bit underwhelming, all in all.

Maybe it was the older gay narrator and the humorous nonsense his senile dad came out with but the story put in mind of David Sedaris’ brilliant essays, so I think if you’re a fan of Sedaris then you’ll probably enjoy this one. His dad was an amusing wag of a character, awkwardly incorporating modern phrases into his speech (“I feel like she’s slut-shaming me”) and proudly announcing throughout that, re: his infidelities, he’s quite the “cocksman”!

Town & Country is a fine short story of contemporary fiction but nothing that special. Still, it’ll help hold over fans of Jess Walter until later this year when The Cold Millions is released.

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I was shocked to get to the end and realize this was a short story! I typically stay away from short stories because I like my literature with a beginning and a define ending with lots of space in between. If you're like me, fear not!! Jess Walters created a masterpiece in the short amount of space she had. I felt like I knew these men and was crushed when it was over.

I received an advance copy. All thoughts are my own.

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This was an okay story. It packed quite a punch in a limited amount of pages, but at the same time it didn't linger after I had finished reading it. I did like the writing and might check out other stories by this author in the future.

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Though depressing and somewhat bleak, this was a very well-done short story. The characters and circumstance were all too real. I found myself wanting it to continue beyond the glimpse we were given.

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A short tale about a father and a son who are as different as they could be, but who are there for each other when others desert them. Understanding and love come in waves of silence, sometimes.
Walter's greatest skill is drawing full-fleshed characters with a long history in a handful of pages. I read the last page eagerly not knowing the story ended where it did and when I saw it was the end I saw the beauty of Walter's intention. Lives cut short, stories that keep going without written words.

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This was an interesting look at small town life from a queer perspective. Overall a quick and enjoyable read.

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4.8/5
Quality of writing: 5
Plot development: 4
Pace: 5
Characters: 5
Enjoyability: 5
Ease of reading: 5

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I have long been a fan of Jess Walter and this story ranks with his best. I absolutely loved it. A gay man cares for his aging conservative father. This story is beautiful and hilarious. I can't recommend it enough. Such a great story.

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When I requested this I had no idea it was a short story. I actually really liked it. For a short story, it packed a lot into it and made me feel quite a few different emotions. I somehow wish it was longer only because I wanted to know if Town & Country worked out for his dad. I think I will check out some of Jess Walters other work!

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It's an excellent short story, well written and well plotted, full of emotions and great characters.
It's the first story I read by this author and won't surely be the last as I loved it.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

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When I requested for this book I didn’t realize this was going to be a short story. But I shrugged my shoulders and started reading, knowing that since it was Jess Walters, author of Beautiful Ruins - a book I loved, I would probably not be disappointed.

I was not.

The story is of Jay and his father. They couldn’t be more different. Jay - gay, in his forties, monogamous and recently broken up and his father - 75, on the verge of dementia and as Jay said in the book, ‘a horny alcoholic toddler’ who smoked like a chimney.

Jay found himself in a situation where after his breakup with his long term boyfriend, his father breaks up with his long term girlfriend and has to move in with Jay. The story unfolds their relationship in the present and the past and me laugh out loud, chuckle and sigh.

Jess Walter packed quite a punch in this short story of about 41 pages. I found myself pondering my mortality with the characters, empathizing and agreeing with the political stances and just generally having a good time.

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Walter's novella follows Jay as he comes to terms with his father's illness. Jay was clearly not prepared for his father to be kicked out of his ex-girlfriend's house or declining health. The father and son spend the story attempting to find a place for his dad to spend out his remaining years. This is the catalyst for the story and opens up a reflection on all the moments that the two men have disconnected over the years. There's a clear plot being presented, yet there is a lot more telling than showing taking place. This made it hard to feel too connected to the characters beyond a vague sense of sympathy for people who find themselves in the role of caretaker. There were plot points that could have been expanded upon to capitalize on the strong points, yet the story never fully takes off.

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I hadn't read anything by Jess Walter in a while, and gosh, I missed him. The bold, confident prose, the sharp dialogue, the mixture of humor, a touch of surreality, and a deep world-weariness: all are present here, in this short but punchy novella.

Jay has just passed forty and just broken up with his boyfriend when his father, who he moved back to his hometown of Boise to be closer to, is kicked out by his longterm girlfriend for cheating on her. Jay's father is 75 and physically rarin' to go -- too far, most of the time -- but his dementia is growing steadily worse. Jay's attempts to live with, and then find a home for, his father make for a story that's surprisingly funny: a dark, dark comedy that, if at the end is a tad unsubtle, is still satisfying. I shouldn't have stayed away so long.

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I requested this because I loved Jess Walter’s “Beautiful Ruins,” but must admit that I didn’t realize when I requested it that it was just a short story. Luckily, Jess Walter does more to infuse this short story with real-feeling characters, emotion, back story, plot, and originality than many novels I have read. Definitely makes me want to read his future work as well as go back and read those of his books which I missed.

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