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Not Boyle’s Best

Talk Talk by T. C. Boyle

Reviewed by Tom Chiarella

"Here's a bad sign: The most compelling scene in Talk Talk , T. C. Boyle's new chase novel, is the first, in which Dana Halter, a deaf schoolteacher, is stopped for a routine traffic violation only to be arrested, jailed, and generally brutalized for outstanding warrants run up by an identity thief. Halter is so defenseless that her life quickly liquefies — job lost, finances ruined. Sympathy is a heady tonic, and the truth is, you do feel, in those first 15 pages, that this could happen to anyone, especially you." Read the entire Esquire review.

4 Responses to "Not Boyle’s Best"

    Dave July 19th, 2006 at 7:00 am

    Is it possible to try to vary the titles in "Review-a-Day"? This same book was reviewed just two days ago. I subscribe to "Review-a-Day" to hear about a variety of new books, not to hear different reviewers comment on the same books. With the thousands of books that get released every year, is reviewing 365 different titles in a year too much to ask for? No offense, but it's not like the staff of Powell's themselves do the reviewing- they reprint the reviews from other sources!

    When a new book by a known writer is released one daily review is sufficient. If a reader is a fan of a particular writer, I doubt whether one bad review is going to convince him or her not to read the new book from the author.

    For example, I'm sure I received at least three reviews of Tom Wolfe's "I am Charlotte Simmons" through Powell's "Review-a-Day". I realize Wolfe is a major author, but that's a little overkill. PLEASE limit reviews of individual books to one "Review-a-Day".

    Thank you.

    bears July 19th, 2006 at 9:01 am

    I pointed this out a little while ago when there were at least three reviews of Roth's "Everyman" in the course of a week or so!

    Hank D. July 19th, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    Gee, Dave, I'm not sure Powell's has a whole lot of say in what books Esquire and the Atlantic Monthly review. And if those guys give them a review to print, I'm pretty sure Powells doesn't really get to say "No thanks, would you write something else specially for us?"

    That said, I notice the reviews of "Talk Talk" are totally different. One seemed to love it and the other seemed to hate it. I find differing opinions on the same book to be pretty damn interesting, myself.

    Georgie July 20th, 2006 at 10:28 am

    Thank you all for your comments. Over the five years of coordinating Review a Day I have had this point raised a handful of times. As Hank mentions above, Powells has no control over what our magazines run as reviews. I get a report from Publisher's Lunch once a week which tells me the most reviewed books in that week and you can see some books reviewed up to 14 times in one week.
    It is a fact in our industry that the media does glom onto one 'big' book and in the form of reviews discusses its faults and merits, with varying results. It is for this reason that we don't actually mind repetition of a certain book being reviewed, because what certainly isn't repeated is each individual reviewer's take on that book.
    I'm sorry that some customers find this frustrating but in our busy days perhaps it is a blessing that occasionally we can hit the delete button and have one less email that day to deal with? (Or am I just thinking about _my_ inbox -- that nightmarish monster that I wake up to every morning...?)

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