Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Jess Walter gets by with a little help from a literary friend

Chris Crutcher at a 2019 Northwest Passages Book Club event.  (Libby Kamrowski/The Spokesman-Review)

Writing novels is a lonely occupation. But Spokane, which lives up to its reputation as a literary hotbed, boasts a number of talented novelists. Some of the wordsmiths, such as Jess Walter and Chris Crutcher, are close friends. The latter, who has written entertaining novels such as “Loser’s Bracket” and “Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes,” is a vocal fan of Walter.

“When I read (Walter’s) ‘Beautiful Ruins,’ I thought that might be the best thing to ever come out of this town,” Crutcher said. “That book is a masterpiece. When I was reading it, I was thinking, ‘There’s no one in this world that can bring this home, but Jess brought it home.’ It was fearless and so well-crafted. I had to read ‘Beautiful Ruins’ twice. The first time I read it for enjoyment and the second time was to see how everything is set up.”

Walter appreciates the 74-year-old South Hill resident’s kind words. “Chris is so wonderful,” Walter said. “He’s a great man and a great writer. Writing is such a solitary thing. You’re by yourself for hours and hours. When you do emerge, it’s great to be around someone as wonderful as Chris, who is a great member of our community, who is so caring and one of the funniest guys you’ll meet.”

It’s a mutual admiration society. “Jess is a laid-back, regular guy who happens to be a brilliant writer,” Crutcher said.