Vox By NICHOLSON BAKER. Let's review! We will commonly locate out this sentence anywhere. When still being a children, mommy made use of to order us to. NATIONAL BESTSELLER Vox is a novel that remaps the territory of sex—sex solitary and telephonic, lyrical and profane, comfortable and dangerous. Nicholson Baker was born in New York City in and grew up in Rochester. In his many works of fiction and nonfiction (including Vox, Checkpoint and.
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Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Baker's self-indulgent novel, a week PW bestseller in cloth, transcribes a long telephone conversation between . Checkpoint. A Novel. From Nicholson Baker, best-selling author of Vox and the most original writer of his generation, his most controversial novel yet. download Close . The work of Nicholson Baker has long been constrained by critically reductive force phone-sex novel Vox () has been derided for sacrificing Baker's.
I wanted to leave the review as it stood, on the devastatingly humorous note, but have to fess up and say the book does improve a bit about halfway through eg.
They all left me limp dicked. However, there is one thing Baker pens on page that I wholly agree with and have thought about before myself: View all 24 comments. Apr 01, Jennifer rated it it was amazing. This is a book I expected to find precious and overly high-concept and ended up enjoying immensely, and thinking about for a long time after I was done.
It is basically a transcript of a phone-sex conversation over the course of several hours, written down with absolutely minimal frills no descriptions beyond the conversation, no verbs beyond "said" or "asked," no adjectives or adverbs to describe the voices of the two participants. And yet Jim and Abby whose names I remember although they're This is a book I expected to find precious and overly high-concept and ended up enjoying immensely, and thinking about for a long time after I was done.
And yet Jim and Abby whose names I remember although they're only mentioned maybe twice in the book are fascinating characters, and their conversation is funny, touching and thought-provoking. Also hot--this is, after all, a phone-sex conversation, and the participants spend a lot of time talking about sex and in fact masturbating the climax of the book is the, well Their pornographic flights of fancy are not always "sexy," but that's kind of the point, it's an exploration of what these characters find sexy, and thus it's very idiosyncratic and sometimes intriguingly opaque.
It's hard to capture what's so appealing about the book, beyond the fact that it's an intellectual discussion of sex, and a depiction of two intellects meeting and connecting, and that's always fascinating. I ended up having my fingers crossed for Jim and Abby after they hung up their phones.
Jan 22, Courtney Johnston rated it really liked it Shelves: I'm a communication generation too old for this book. And a reading generation too young - it's a book I've inherited, from the daring s, published in the same year I was in Form II.
I read and loved 'The Anthologist' last year or the year before, and since then I've been picking up and putting down the other books by Baker on the shelf - not my books - reading the blurbs and wondering if I'm up for them. I'm not sure what the compulsion was that pushed me to finally pick Vox up the other nig I'm a communication generation too old for this book.
I'm not sure what the compulsion was that pushed me to finally pick Vox up the other night - perhaps, purely, that I was looking for a short read, and the slightly narrowed rectangle of this slim book made the decision for me. Vox consists entirely of a single episode of phone sex, conducted between a man and a woman in different cities over a pay-per-minute chat line.
On the phone. A phone with push-able buttons. A receiver that can be cradled between ear and shoulder, leaving the hands free. I kept on thinking of my iPhone whenever there was a phone detail - a little wondering, a little pondering, a little nostalgia.
I feel faintly embarrassed to admit how much I liked this book. It's dirty, and funny, and above all literate. There are some erotic passages, and others that would brush up against pornographic if you weren't paying attention to the rumbling rush of sentences, the inventiveness, the absurdity of the substitution of play words for straightforward words.
The conversationalists recount their sexual experiences, their fantasies, and craft fantasies for each other. Occasionally they break character - they take intellectual pleasure in their carnal conversation, they marvel at finding each other, they bat about witticisms, they set each other challenges 'Tell me a story in which There was one story I particularly loved.
Not the denouement, but the set up: What happened was, you went to a program in a university, and you got a masters in silversmithing, with some postgraduate work in pendant mounting and bead drilling, and you found you had a very good eye, and you were really able to me bracelets and earrings and especially necklaces that looked good on people, not that good in the display case, in fact sometimes your work even looked a little strange, a little knobby and unsure of itself in that display case, but on the human form -- divine.
So you graduate from the program and it's time to make a living and you take your best work around various jewelry places, and you get a mixed reaction, frankly, the world isn't quite ready for you, and finally you take it to Harvey's Semi-Precious, which you've avoided because in a way it's a little down-market -- it started as a head shop in fact, and Harvey's this fairly old guy now with a big collection of fancy cigarette cases from the twenties that you find saddens you, and he's got what you might call an old-world smell There was another passage that snuck into me.
The man is speaking: See, see, this is what I need. I need to know secrets and have secrets and keep secrets. I need to be confided in. Each time you come alone and you don't tell anybody, that's a sexual secret. The event has taken place and only you know about it and you have ministered to yourself in exactly the way you wanted to and thought exactly what you wanted to think about. This reminds me so strongly of a man I know.
Not a close friend, but an intimate friend. Years ago, he used to call me at work and ask me to describe what the other girls were wearing.
Later, I discovered he called the other girls and asked them to do the same. And it wasn't kinky - at least, not sexually. What he sought, and what I revelled in, why I played along, was the intimacy of asking that question, and getting an answer. Of shocking you into truth. And he still does it - every so often, by email or in person, he will drop a question on me, and I will unfold before him. He has this mysterious quality of attention that makes you want to feed him with the most intimate details of your life, because you somehow feel he is a connoisseur of these stories, that he will appreciate them.
There is, of course, also the fact that he never judges. He asks the question from a point of curiosity that would be innocent if it weren't so barbed, then he tips his head on the side and waits for you to pour forth. And I do. I really loved this and at first I wasn't sure what to expect but even though it was very short it was very thought provoking.
It is very pornographic but very intelligent. I didn't want it to end, I wished the two characters would keep talking on the phone for ever. It had a great voyeuristic appeal to it and it kind of reminded me of a Woody Allen movie.
Most of all it was just pure fun. Jul 18, Anil rated it liked it. Ok, so I am done with the book. And I am glad to report that the book has a "happy ending" as you are bound to expect of a book like this. So right off the bat, I have to say, yes this is smut. But remember no pictures.
And if you are looking for a turn on, you are much better off reading blogs or turning to the Internet than this book. In any human interaction or even a solo experience, there is the moment when it Ok, so I am done with the book.
In any human interaction or even a solo experience, there is the moment when it happens and what happens. But then there is an iceberg beneath the surface.
Of things that brought you to the point. Of the words you say. And if you are like me, the fear of not finding the right words or fear of having used the wrong words or the fear of being misunderstood. There are all the memories you bring and all the hopes you have for the interaction. We are individuals in these moments but there is the weight of society that we belong to and the roles we play that shape these moments. There are times when these interactions are just right and you can dwell on aspects of it and you can spent hours reflecting on it and it can be rapturous.
And sometimes these are painful and you wish you could change everything because the interaction was not what it was supposed to be. You could write a one page novel about a conversation between a man and a woman or make a 5 minute movie or you could write a page book or make a 90 minute movie I am thinking of the Linklater sp?
Sometimes, they are enjoyable and sometimes they are just dreary. In this book, the reflections and digressions all about sex or mostly about sex are not paragraph descriptions. They are part of the conversation. Which is why I am sure, lot of people say: At times, I can enjoy exploring the iceberg, but other times I would much rather be in the moment and dance! Let me finish the book before giving my final verdict If you are looking for a real review of the book, here is a link to a funny and very appropriate one: Nov 12, Tatiana rated it liked it Recommended to Tatiana by: Jan 26, Lindsey rated it did not like it.
I'm only half through this book right now, but it's absolutely ridiculous. It was actually on the "Staff Recommendations" table at my public library, and I figured it had to be amazing since it was erotica on a main table in the middle of the library.
I was so wrong. Everything about this book is contrived and irritating. Has Nicholson Baker never had a telephone conversation in his life? Because that's the only possible excuse I can come with. The dialogue and the whole book is dialogue, soo I don't like the characters and more importantly, I don't believe them. This book actually made me mad.
That's how terrible it is. What must've made this so zeitgeisty and fresh in the early 90's is kinda what makes it so fun now. On one hand it's tied to a time where people used adult chatlines, there's stuff about renting x-rated videos, even photocopying your peen seems somehow dated, and i loved how time specific that is.
It was defo heavily hetero, and I didn't think it was as sexy as The Fermata or as hallucinogenic and funny as House Of What must've made this so zeitgeisty and fresh in the early 90's is kinda what makes it so fun now. It was defo heavily hetero, and I didn't think it was as sexy as The Fermata or as hallucinogenic and funny as House Of Holes, but Nicholson Baker is always entertaining, and also joyful and weirdly innocent when he writes about sex, and we need more of that.
Feb 17, Matt rated it liked it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I actually really enjoyed this. I only picked it up at first because its one of the gifts Monica bought Bill. I'm kind of a star fucker when it comes to this kind of thing But its really a small accomplishment about over-intellectualizing sex and trying to preserve distance as well as having that distance thrust upon you by social- technological- constraints.
I mean, is there anyone out there in internet land who can really feel what I'm earnestly trying to say about all these books you might I actually really enjoyed this. I mean, is there anyone out there in internet land who can really feel what I'm earnestly trying to say about all these books you might or might not have read from a complete and total stranger?
Haunting, beautifully written. I'm glad I got into it.
I read this book years ago - it's a quick read and merits a re-read so I can write a better review. Phone sex operators make money by keeping people on the line for as long as possible. The main characters engage in long, meandering conversations that are somewhat realistic but it's not really about the sex in the end, is it?
It's more of a conversation by the author with himself on a variety of subjects, using the two characters to play out the different possibilities. My copy has a hot pink co I read this book years ago - it's a quick read and merits a re-read so I can write a better review. My copy has a hot pink cover! Baker just gets odder the more I read of him.
This is supposed to be a single conversation between a man and a woman who both call into a phone sex line. It does get pretty steamy in parts, but they spend an interesting amount of time talking about their thoughts and such even beyond any sex stuff.
A romance definitely brews in all the weirdness. You gotta love Baker, because nobody else I've seen writes stuff like this. Jan 03, Ben Loory rated it liked it. Nov 26, Chez Hilroy rated it it was ok. The cover says: I say feminist because the female character is on par with her male partner erotically.
She is articulate, lusty, supplied with normal female caution but, just as normally, feminine curiosity and desire. And the former quote is from the New York Times, so boo on me there, too. Suffice it to say, Vox is neither of these things. It isn't a horrible read, it's got too much of that mild 90s flavour to be grievously offensive. Some of the eroticism is well written, but as much as Baker seems to understand about erotic writing he seems also unaware of his own shortcomings and missteps common to writing eroticism.
And some of these missteps he stumbles over are what make the novel--to be frank--a little gross. At first he captures the tone of conversation between two people trying very hard to be erotic. And, for what it's worth, I think he's captured how a man involved in such a situation and in such a set-up that is the plot of the book would react to the conversation as it unfolds.
Quickly but, he probably thinks and must insist, how unusually quickly opening up into his own view of eroticism and descriptions not only of what gets him off, but what should get people off. The tone, in the beginning, seems dead on.
Then you realise that it is likely a happy accident. At best the two characters seem like they're conversing in text and not verbally, but more accurately it seems Baker made a critical fumble on how conversations sound. It isn't every third word, but it's often enough to show.
Every now and then either character will say something that's too technical, too unwieldy for an erotic phone conversation. And the constant reflexive "outs" "I was trying to photocopy my cock--incidentally my company is too cheap to download a good brand of printer.
The actors should be nervous for this conversation, but this is too nervous. And it lasts too long. Near the end of the book the two would be avoiding little pitstops like this as they get more comfortable with each other and with trying to get each other off. But I mentioned the grossness so let me get to that. One thing Baker nails about eroticism and erotic writing is that it's all about the details.
He understands that what gets people off is not just the rote in-your-face "sex stuff" but the weird non-sexual details around it. He understands further that people often fantasize about strange, impossible stuff when they get off. Like I say, the book isn't horrible and Baker does understand a decent portion of his subject matter.
But the issue which comes to a head, and the reason this is in no way a feminist novel, is the bullish manipulation committed by Jim, the only man in the book. He describes little erotic incidents that have happened in his life Abby, the only woman, does the same , and this on its own is a good idea. But what he describes largely violates the consent of the women he insists in involving in his masturbatory fantasies.
Now, he's all awash with self-deprecation and self-flagellation over this, but that only make it worse. Because in the context of the conversation he's having with Abby it's very clear he's trying to manipulate her into saying it's okay. And it's not just his past that this occurs in--the whole conversation is dominated by his perspective on sex, on women, on what is or is not erotic. He doesn't like the name of breasts, so they rename them "frans".
He doesn't like this or that, so they change it. What might have been a commentary on how society labels, names, or conceives of--particularly--female anatomy comes off as a grown man who's too juvenile to use the actual names of the things he gets off to.
And while Abby renames a thing or two as well, I recall her being largely egged into it; it's Jim who grabs the ball from her and runs. And I touched on this above, the strange jilted parts of conversation.
Well there is a much more jilting, though not inaccurate, thread running through the conversation. Jim, is not just describing his fantasies he is a pornography connoisseur. And that means that everything sexual he conceives of has to be particularly filed, labelled, and inventoried.
A place for everything and everything in its place. He dissociates his own sexual drive by way of beauracratical file keeping. And so everything he finds erotic has to be followed with a puff of the pipe and a "Hmm, quite.
And Jim has such a toxic view of everything. He talks about hating other men while masturbating because they can't appreciate women like he can. He hates the superficial, mainstream porn industry and "subverts" it by fetishizing particularly in his own way. This is For him it seems like it. He reminds me of so many real life men who fetishize women in a way that goes against the grain and want a pat on the head for it--sometimes for being "feminist" enough to jackoff to different kinds of women.
Which is why printing the word "feminist" on the cover of Vox pisses me off so much. This guy isn't some monster on the other end of the phone he's a just the same kind of asshole who thinks his hard-on makes him enlightened.
And it's always about viewing women as an object, as a source of pornography rather than a sexual partner. He says near the end of the book that he doesn't even care about his own orgasm, "Exactly! See that? Who cares about my cock? It'll fend for itself. We're talking about your orgasm.
Later on the page he says: No woman is anything but beautiful when she is masturbating. Any plainness or overweightness of boniness or even a character flaw, an ungenerousness or something, everything it part of the recipe of her particular transfiguration, everything bad is pressed out of her when she shuts her eyes tight and comes.
He wants to see women masturbate and orgasm more than he wants to sleep with them, even. Nevermind his list of "flaws" a woman can overcome by performing for him, he places himself constantly in the position of voyeur and insists that it makes him morally better than those other, brutal men who want to actually engage women on a mutually sexual level.
Jim's made the mistake common to many men of hiding their own misogyny, their own sexist ideas, under the guise of "fantasy" and extending that guise as far as it needs to go with no critical oversight whatsoever.
It would be one thing if his fantasies were especially voyeuristic or dark or offensive, but these things are spilling out into the real world and he insists again and again that it's okay because it's just a fantasy and he knows he's a good guy so it's aces. He talks about going to an explicit foreign film in a theatre years before and, hearing the shock of the couple in front of him when they realise how sexual it will be, tries to assure the woman that everything is okay: I wanted women I think I've said enough on the matter, but to sum it up: And I say main player because, while Abby is there and talks about her own experiences and desires, it's always driven by Jim and Jim's narrative.
The only other thing I'll say is that Vox is a fascinating period piece for the 90s. My god in heaven is this a 90s book. Maybe this was even a subversive novel back then, but I rather doubt it. Jun 06, Peter Derk rated it it was ok Shelves: Giving up on this one. It's alright, and the concept is pretty interesting, the whole book being a conversation between two people on a sex chat line. But without a narrative thread that I can see popping up it's more a bunch of non sequitur stuff it would've been more interesting to me condensed into pages or so.
It's a long time to keep going with what's mostly two voices on the phone. Maybe it's like a real phone call where an hour or so is about as long as I can go without something pr Giving up on this one.
Maybe it's like a real phone call where an hour or so is about as long as I can go without something pretty personally at-stake happening. Also, I'm betting this was pretty transgressive on its release, but now I can get books where someone lays out a graphic fantasy of a guy sexing all over a velociraptor on the Moon. Or maybe the velociraptor sexed on him. I can't exactly remember. To be honest, the only thing I really remember about that book was the bro guy wondering whether it was gay for him to have sex with a male velociraptor.
To which I thought, "That's not the important question. If someone has sex with a Narwhal on Mars, I have about questions before I get to 'Wait, it wasn't a dude narwhal, was it? If the person who had sex with the narwhal insisted on telling me it was a dude narwhal on Mars, I'd be like, "Are you kidding me right now?
We can get to that later, but I have a lot of more pressing questions we have to plow through first. Question 1: How the hell did you get to Mars? Was the narwhal already there when you arrived? How did the differing gravity affect your Jun 01, Karl Marx S. Vox is a highly entertaining novel from the highly observant author Nicholson Baker.
Vox is about a page length conversation about Jim and Abby, who meets over the phone when they both dial one of those enticing adverti Vox is a highly entertaining novel from the highly observant author Nicholson Baker. Vox is about a page length conversation about Jim and Abby, who meets over the phone when they both dial one of those enticing advertisements in an adult magazine. Two lonely people late one night inspired to call for a sex phone line and hoping to find connection with someone.
Of course they start to interest each other and starts to share erotic stories some are fictional, some experienced and after a time -although all of this happens in just a span of a night- begins to develop a sort of friendship. Of course it could be dated for we now have the internet, but that realization over the telephone I could consider as magical. I can say that a dark room but those little stereo lights on stereo sets are pretty nostalgic. Have you ever imagine while talking to someone, wanted to travel through the phone to the place on other line?
Asking or asked to describe the picture on your window? What time it is there? The weather?
Although the first part of their conversation talks of nothing but erotic stories that has a tendency to tire some readers for the two to get into it, Baker writes form the heart. One other pace-making discovery by way of the founding father of the Olympia Press, Maurice Girodias. Here are the value determinations submitted through 3 recognized literary specialists in regards to the publication:. Blows the lid off the underground intercourse revolution.
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Here are the value determinations submitted through 3 recognized literary specialists in regards to the publication: The dirtiest publication ever released! The super-trash novel that makes outdated pornography out of date!