Friday, July 25, 2008

Talk, Talk by T.C. Boyle

Talk, Talk by T.C. Boyle
The protagonist is Dana Halter, a deaf woman who teaches English in a school for the deaf. She has a Ph.D. from Gallaudet University. Her sidekick and romantic interest is Bridger Martin, a computer operator who paints out the wires in special effects action adventure movies with virtual actors. Why am I thinking of Judy Tenuda? “I want a sensitive guy, like you, but with a human head.” Oh yes, he also adds the heads to the virtual actors.

The villain is Dana Halter, alias Bridger Martin, alias Frank Callabrese, also known as William Peck Wilson, former restaurant owner and a black belt in karate with an anger management problem. He is currently gainfully employed as an identity thief.

Dana’s quest is Peck Wilson, his real name, but don’t call him that. Find him and make him stop using her basic identifiers. Dana’s strongest quality is what she calls determined, but her mother calls stubborn. Her tragic flaw is her difficulty in communicating with the hearing world.

She gets stopped for running a stop sign and thrown in jail due to a case of mistaken identity because her doppelganger has outstanding warrants in several states for passing bad checks and assault and battery. That starts the plot rolling.

Bridger gets sucked into the black hole of Dana’s obsession because he loves her. Meanwhile, the man of many names is living the high life as a doctor in Marin County, though all he does is doctor false IDs. His Achilles’ heel is Natalia, a Russian babe with an attitude and a spoiled girl child named Madison.

What ensues is a cross country chase, in which each time Peck Wilson thinks he has escaped, he gives in to some Natalia induced act of stupidity and is found again by Dana and Bridger.

In the end, the imposter is on the lam again in New York, Dana gets a job teaching English at Gallaudet and Bridger, his speech permanently altered by a kick to the voicebox, is back in California, painting out the wires on stunt people playing virtual action heroes and putting his head and Dana’s on the principals in the pixel screenplay when his boss isn’t looking.

What did I like about it? It has continuous page turning action and insight into the deaf and high tech criminals. What could have been done better? I can’t think of anything. Will I read anything else by this author? I don’t know. I read whatever the librarian tells me to read. I saw T.C. Boyle’s picture on the cover of Poets & Writers magazine. I’ll probably read the interview, if I can find it in my pile of back issues.

1 comment:

hamilcar barca said...

i like the idea of the protagonist being deaf. i'm sure there are lots of "let's chase the doppelganger" stories out there. but giving the heroine the handicap of not being able to hear is a nice twist.