5.0 out of 5 stars Vox
Vox is the novella length discussion between Abby and Jim, two relatively lonely people inspired, late one night, to call a sex phone line to make a connection with someone, anyone. They find each other, and as the novel progresses, through a series of neatly spaced erotic stories, they begin to develop a friendship, marvelling at the strange wonders of technology, the...
Published on May 4 2004 by Damian Kelleher
1.0 out of 5 stars Crap!!!!
I would have rated this aweful book with less stars but you have to put at least one. I read a bunch of reviews before I purchased it and it seemed to be highly rated. It was supposed to be really hard core and steamy but it was unbearable and annoying. The whole book is about two annoying people having one long, stupid conversation on a chat line and then at the end...
Published 8 months ago by Roberta Pratt
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1.0 out of 5 stars Crap!!!!,
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This review is from: Vox (Paperback)I would have rated this aweful book with less stars but you have to put at least one. I read a bunch of reviews before I purchased it and it seemed to be highly rated. It was supposed to be really hard core and steamy but it was unbearable and annoying. The whole book is about two annoying people having one long, stupid conversation on a chat line and then at the end they get off. They hardly even talk about sex. The only reason I read the whole thing was because I thought that it had to get better. But it didn't!!! This is the worst erotic book I have ever read. Don't buy it unless it's a gift for someone you hate.
4.0 out of 5 stars The technology is dated, but the story is still arousing,
This review is from: Vox (Paperback)Back in 1993, before Internet erotic chatrooms, Jim and Abby meet through an erotic phone chat service and begin a conversation that becomes the text of this novel. Devoting a whole novel to one erotic phone call allows the author to develop his characters better than your average pay-by-the-minute erotic service would normally allow. Cost becomes no object to these two people a continent apart as they explore their fantasies with each other. While the conversation doesn't maintain a high level of stimulation throughout, there are exciting moments. Overall, a good light work with exciting episodes and a climactic ending.
5.0 out of 5 stars Vox,
This review is from: Vox (Paperback)Vox is the novella length discussion between Abby and Jim, two relatively lonely people inspired, late one night, to call a sex phone line to make a connection with someone, anyone. They find each other, and as the novel progresses, through a series of neatly spaced erotic stories, they begin to develop a friendship, marvelling at the strange wonders of technology, the phone, and how it could bring two people together who would never otherwise meet.
The entire story is in dialogue, with only a very few 'he said' and 'she said's to allow us to remember just who is speaking - which due to the quality of the writing and characterisation is rarely necessary. At first, Jim is mostly interested in one thing, but early on he realises that he has found someone who is perhaps worth more of a time investment than a 'normal' call to this particular chatline, and for a very long time, there is only very minor sex talk. They discuss the little oddities of life that everyone discusses in quiet moments, sharing thoughts about mundane items or events in ways that would no doubt sound instantly familiar to anyone, anywhere. A huge positive of this novella is that Baker writes both characters with a sense of awareness, just like any other normal person. There are a lot of things that the two characters just plain get, and a lot that they don't. They can talk about the casual immediacy of events, or the metaphysics of those little lights on stereo sets.
A few questions. Have you ever, when talking to someone, wanted to travel through the phone? Yes. Have you ever spoken to someone, and you know that if, through any circumstance whatsoever, there is a break in the conversation, the magic will be gone and that will be that? Yes. Have you ever taken a sick day off from work and then felt so guilty about it that you just had to spend the rest of the day being 'pious'? Yes. Abby and Jim discuss these little truths about the world, and more, though to be honest, most of the rest tend to the explicit. Those conversations are, I think, handled tastefully, without resorting to vulgarity, which is surprising, considering the nature of the call and of the story. To be sure, quite often explicit conversation will begin, but it is of a 'warm' nature, I suppose, not vulgar and shocking and crude - they even make a point about that fact in adult movies.
Nicholson Baker writes with the heart. I've had conversations like this. You've had conversations like this. Whether or not they tended to the erotic doesn't matter, the point is: we've all spoken to another person that we've been interested in, and they've returned the interest, and we know the way we talk and what we talk about. This novel perfectly captures this, and by the end of it, I felt utterly sad that these two, imperfect, beautiful, interesting and sexual characters were just that...characters. Never have I felt so cheated before, or so thankful that I had been, if only for a moment, able to glimpse into the minds of these two extraordinarily ordinary people, through one simple phone conversation.
5.0 out of 5 stars Qwerky romance? That's my style,
This review is from: Vox (Paperback)The easiest thing in the world to make art of is sex. That being said, the hardest thing in the world to make good art of is sex.
Sex has been done to death. When Whitman wrote 'Leaves of Grass' it was audacious, when Flaubert wrote 'Madame Bovary' it was scandalous, but in retrospect these works don't look lude, they look romantic as the greatest Shakespeare Sonnet.
Vox has just taken thing to their logical next step. Ludeness and romance are mostly considered binary oppositions in this society, and Baker does a fantastic job of cutting that idea down to size.
Not only is this book endlessly clever and uniquely observant, it is also quite risque on a great number of levels, from format to context to content to structure. Beyond all this there rests a sick, depraved, utterly romantic story, one not to be missed.
3.0 out of 5 stars Been there done that,
This review is from: Vox (Paperback)Well, I was intrigued to give this book a try, but it just didn't do it for me. It seemed drawn out and rather boring - maybe it's because I have actually done my share of Internet chatting, meeting by phone, etc. I've given up after reading only half of it and it's a short book! Maybe for others it would hold more appeal. However, to it's credit, it is a unique concept for a story line.
3.0 out of 5 stars A light, guilty pleasure,
This review is from: Vox (Paperback)Nicholson Baker deserved credit for trying something a bit new in his freshman outing, The Mezzanine. Everyday objects and events may appear mundane, but that is simply because we don't look at them with enough attention and imagination.
This time around he applies the same formula to sex. Actually, he applies it to the idea/concept of sex; the book is a transcript of a telephone conversation between Jim and Abby, and the two characters never meet. Vox is an interesting an amusing read, entertaining in a voyeuristic sort of way, and occasionally insightful. This isn't a novel in the conventional sense; it by design lacks elements such as plot and significant character development. Vox is more of an experiment in writing.
Largely, it's an experiment that works. The narrative has a believable rhythm that allows the reader to eavesdrop on this couple as they fantasize and tell stories. The book's sexual imagery is tame enough that it shouldn't scandalize many readers. Its eroticism arises mainly from watching these two strangers take risks by making themselves vulnerable to each other.
The book's primary flaw is that Baker doesn't do a particularly convincing job of creating new characters. Both Jim and Abby are largely indistinguishable from the narrator of the Mezzanine; both of them are Nicholson Baker clones. They're so similar that, at any point in time, it is fairly easy to lose track of who is speaking. No wonder they hit it off so well.
Vox is a fun, forgettable book that should appeal to the voyeur in most readers. A quick read.
3.0 out of 5 stars An admirable beach read,
This review is from: Vox (Paperback)In a creative writing class I attended this year, Vox was mentioned as an example of "telephone fiction" -- a novel that takes place entirely on the telephone. I wondered how successful it would be, seeing as it would have to be composed of mostly or entirely dialogue, so I checked out Vox from a local library.
Little did I know, it was mild erotica. However, I still enjoyed reading it, as it was composed of several humourous fantasies, and though I'm not a usual reader of the erotica genre, I enjoyed it, and read the book in one sitting.
Vox is most admirable for its realism (at least in how the telephone conversation comes about -- a dating line), and while I agree with other reviewers who've said it's a masturbat-o-thon book, it was a good read, if for no other reason than the fact that there actually exists a book that's plot consists of phone sex, and only that.
5.0 out of 5 stars Tastes vary (some like masterpieces, some don't),
By A Customer
This review is from: Vox (Paperback)I'm stunned, and slightly discouraged, by the number of reviewers who disliked this wonderful book. Mr. Baker, don't listen to these people! You know as well as I that the world has its Philistines.
An aspect of the book I enjoyed that hasn't been mentioned yet is this: lurking beneath the bizarre plot is a rather sweet love story. Jim clearly senses, right off the bat, that in Abby he's found the girl of his dreams. That's why he's so eager to impress her with his tales, such as the Forky Pig episode. Abby shows she's worthy of him when she concocts the amazing paint roller fantasy.
In the end, I think, Jim will quit his boring job on the West Coast, move in with Abby, and become a successful writer. Jim and Abby will have children together, and will always think back fondly on that phone call.
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy, beach/pool read...,
By A Customer
This review is from: Vox (Paperback)...but nothing fabulous. It's short and I read it in an afternoon by the pool. I neither felt cheated out of my time, nor felt any great affinity toward the characters or wanted to read more by the author. Basically, a good way to pass a couple of hours, but that's all.
2.0 out of 5 stars The book Monica gave Bill,
This review is from: Vox (Paperback)This is a fairly forgettable little book, but not unenjoyable while you're at it. It doesn't age very well, but will serve as a fine example of Fin de Siècle American literature in the not too distant future, describing the anxieties, obsessions, moods and mores of the bubbling nineties. Okay, okay, it's just another Gen X novel, using phone sex dialogues as a narrative device.
This book's main claim to fame however, is the fact that a copy of Vox was given by White House courtesan Monica Lewinsky to President Bill Clinton.
For the record Bill returned the favour by giving her Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, a few trinkets and DNA samples galore.
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Vox by Nicholson Baker (Paperback - Jan. 26 1993)
CDN$ 17.00 CDN$ 12.27