This summary can't convey the pleasures of Gillis's style. Walter tells his story with a smart-alecky tone that doesn't change until his life is shattered. Then his words become more tentative. There are lapses in Walter Falls that a creative writing workshop may have prevented a few sentences might have been fixed, a couple characters more completely developed but no one could have taught Gillis the urgency and passion behind this novel. Walter Falls feels like a book its author had to write, and because of that it is a pleasure to read.
Steven Gillis reads from his novel at Shaman Drum Bookshop on Friday, June 13.
[Originally published in June, 2003.]