Talk Talk

So, my reading spree continues, and for the first time this year: fiction! “Talk Talk” is the most recent novel by T. Coraghessan Boyle, one of my favorite authors. Like an expert research librarian hopped up on speed, T.C. Boyle’s work is amazing: prolific, drunk on words, fast paced, interesting research on disparate topics and characters that get under your skin.

This novel is set in contemporary times, balancing the crime novel aspects of identity theft, with the more interesting idea of the truly difficult nature of communication. Two of the main characters are a couple and the woman, Dana Halter is profoundly deaf. The novel shows the difficulties Dana has communicating on an everyday level, with waitresses and other public encounters, but how it is even more difficult to communicate your feelings, thoughts and emotions to the person you love (a difficult process even if both people are not hearing impaired.)

Combined with a slam-bang cross country chase and the violent confrontation with the man who has stolen the identities of both Dana and her boyfriend, the book is enjoyable and difficult to put down.

HOWEVER, I had some misgivings about the book, sharing the concerns that the NY Times reviewer had about the abrupt and rather unsatisfying ending. Also, compared to earlier Boyle novels such as Tortilla Curtain and World’s End, the verbal pyrotechnics and interesting look at both deaf culture and identity theft, don’t seem to be put to any more purpose than to craft some light summer reading.

An interesting postscript to the novel I found on TC Boyle’s web site: “This further meditation on language led me to the creation of my heroine, Dana Halter, and the subject of the book that she herself is writing on the Wild Child of Aveyron, who was found at the age of eleven or twelve living ferally in Napoleonic France, and who, despite the efforts of a truly extraordinary teacher, was unable to acquire language. That novella–of 66 pages–was originally attached to the text of Talk Talk as an appendix, but I have deleted it from the novel and published it separately in McSweeney’s 19.”

So where do you find McSweeney’s?


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