If there’s something ¬†Jess Walter can’t do as a writer, I’ve yet to encounter it. He can craft plots for detective novels, wax poetic and profound on any number of topics, tackle topics from the election of 1980 to 9/11, and just plain crack you up. His last novel, The Financial Lives of the Poets,¬†was riotously funny but also disturbingly serious, leaving me with knots in my stomach for days afterward (it also inspired my first TNB interview). Beautiful Ruins, his latest and perhaps his most ambitious offering, is, simply put, the result of a novelist working at the height of his powers.

Jess was kind enough to answer some of my questions: