Book: Nicholson Baker 1 Jan 1992


A novel about telephone sex

Baker's self-indulgent novel, a 14-week PW bestseller in cloth, transcribes a long telephone conversation between two people who meet over a phone-sex call-in line.

Jim and Abby meet over the phone when they both dial one of those 976 party lines that are advertised in adult magazines. After some exploratory small talk, they retire to the electronic "back room" for a more intimate chat. Their long conversation makes up the entire book.

Like all great artists, Baker has the ability to make familiar objects and everyday events seem new and strange. Centerfolds, lingerie catalogs, and X-rated videos will never look the same. Indeed, Vox transforms the genre itself: this is eroticism for the safe-sex Nineties. Not only is there no physical contact, the participants never leave the privacy of their own homes. Recommended, with the caveat that some readers may find the subject matter offensive.


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7.3 BAK