Friday, September 01, 2006

82. "Talk, Talk" ~ T.C. Boyle



Dana Halter, a deaf teacher, runs a stop sign on the way to work. She admits to her mistake and expects the police officer who pulled her over to let her off with a warning or a ticket. Instead, she spends the next day and a half in jail.

Reason? Peck Wilson - con artist, former restaurant owner, smooth operator. He has stolen her identity.

In this age of increasing security caution, T.C. Boyle creates a world where the mythic "worst case scenario" comes true. Interestingly, he also creates characters whose communication skills are rough and guarded. Dana's boyfriend is not hearing impaired, but learned sign language to be able to "speak" with her. As they embark on the journey to find Peck Wilson, Dana's agitation causes her to lose some of her vocal clarity. Meanwhile, Peck's lies form a miasma (favorite Boyle word and it *doesn't* show up in this novel) of panic around his relationships.

But somewhere this novel lost its spark, its Boyle trademark of truth borne of blood and sweat. Even his typically unique descriptions give way to some horrifying cliches. Eleventh book syndrome? If only all of us had that problem.

2.75 out of 5.0 Yell Into the Wells.

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