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Fiction Review      

 

TALK: A Novel in Dialogue
by Corey Mesler
Livingston Press, 2002
ISBN: 0-942979-85-0, Hardcover
ISBN: 0-942979-86-9, Paperback

 

 
 

--Hi!  How you doing?

--Great!  Glad to hear it!  Have you read Cory Meslerís new book, Talk?

--No?  Well, itís all set in dialogue, just like what you are reading right now, with the tell-tale dash set before the lines that signify a change of character speaking.  Sometimes there are simply dashes with no words, like when you overhear someone talking on the telephone, but canít hear the other end of a conversation (like the preceding) but other times you get both sides of the conversation.

--Cool!

--Yeah, like that! 

--So, how did you like Coreyís book?

--It was great!  Corey is co-owner of Burkeís bookstore in Memphis, you know?  So what he writes about (speaks in dialogue?) is things local to Memphis, like the P&H, where I used to go to smooze with my friends when I worked downtown.  Or, he might smile over a University of Memphis Tiger basketball win (only he wonít be smiling much, as they havenít had a decent season since the Coach Kirk era.)

--What else?

--Corey talks about what itís like owning a bookstore and some of the kooky things customers say, like when a woman comes in with a book and tries to drop it off with Jim, the main character, for an advance signing of John Grisham.  He tells the woman that Grisham only signs his name and does not personalize his signings, then tells her that she canít drop off the book and pick it up later (like one would drop off a dirty shirt at the Laundromat). 

                Then, there is the man who comes in and tries to sell back technical books that look as if they had been gone through by the entire Fifth Armored Division, and gets mad when Jim wonít buy them back.

          And thereís the complete airhead whoÖoh, well.  You get the picture.

--Go on.

--The narrative of the book centers around a middle-aged, married man who is having a fling with a younger thing outside his marriage.  There is considerable sex-talk and sex-walk.  Only, it is in the self-study of Jim and his estimation of his own life that the book really excels.  It only took me a couple of hours reading on the couch one evening to finish the entire book.  It is an easy read, not necessarily a simple one, though.  Corey is on the right track with this one, and kudos for making it interesting and thought provoking, Corey!

 

Robert L. Hall
Southern Scribe Reviews

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