Monday, May 30, 2011

Talk Talk

Dana Halter, a deaf teacher, gets arrested and thrown in jail for crimes she didn't commit. She's the victim of an identity thief and she goes on a road trip with her boyfriend Bridger Martin to track down the thief.

I've had a fascination with sign language and deaf culture for years, due to several friends who studied sign language among other things. So I was delighted to find out that Talk Talk by T.C. Boyle has a deaf character and explores deaf culture and I think the book does it quite well. It's not the main focus, but Dana's deafness certainly plays a part in the story.

The parts of the book told from the identity thief's point of view were the most gripping parts for me. He's a man who wants to appear suave, successful and well-educated and he does manage it most of the time, but there's always the feeling that he can turn incredibly violent. Once Dana and Bridger are on his trail, he manages to hold on for a while, but eventually he breaks down. He can't face his own life, he hides behind other personalities and when he can't do that anymore, he doesn't know what to do.

His relationship with his girlfriend Natasha is decidedly weird. There's no love there, she just wants to have money to buy things and he needs a beautiful woman because that's what a man has to have, in his opinion. Over the course of the book, there's pretty much only one occasion where they joke together, all their other conversations are tense and bordering on a fight. They are two egoists who have comer to an agreement, but it's a fragile one.

I was a bit amused at myself when I noticed that Dana became my least favourite character in the book because she's constantly late. That is such a pet peeve of mine and it actually influenced my opinion of this character (just like it does with real people - keeping me waiting is a really great way to get on my bad side quickly).

Two little things: the true name of the identity thief is William Wilson, like Poe's famous doppelgänger story, and the book Dana writes is Wild Child

Talk, Talk is the 28th book for the Library challenge

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