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. If the premise sounds a bit thin, remember that Nicholson Baker's brilliant first novel The Mezzanine ( LJ 11/1/88) was about an office worker's lunch-hour expedition to buy new shoelaces. 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. Baker's Room Temperature ( LJ 3/15/90) was one of LJ 's ``Best Books of 1990'' ( LJ 1/91).--Ed.-- Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
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. Author tour. (Feb.) Copyright 1993 Cahners Business Information.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
For readers who feel that, descriptive virtuosity aside, Baker's previous books displayed a disturbingly narrow focus-- The Mezzanine documented an office worker's lunch-hour search for shoelaces; Room Temperature studied a 40-minute bottle-feeding of an infant; U & I lingered over a young writer's obsession with John Updike--Vox will put paid to their most negative suspicions. And for those who feel that Baker is an unparalleled talent, forgiveness may be the only recourse after reading this thin (176 pages) and unaccountably self-indulgent work . Terms like masturbation, onanism and fetishism not only capture this book's themes, they serve as well to characterize the author's unseemly affair with a language closeted from the real world. Baker's inestimable gift, evinced in the other books, for describing the indescribable with absolutely spot-on flourishes are nowhere to be found in Vox . Instead, the reader is treated to one long conversation between Jim and Abby, two people who have just met over a phone sex call-in line. Together they explore rather tame and respectable sexual fantasies and regale each other with inane disclosures. In the end, this long-distance pillow talk is less a commentary on human intercourse than an indictment of Baker's own rarefied style. 50,000 first printing; author tour. (Feb.) Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information.
Two lonely people separated by hundreds of miles meet on a 900 number party line and share their most intimate sexual fantasies, secrets, and perversitiesReview by Publisher Summary 2
Two lonely people separated by hundreds of miles meet on a 900-number party line and share their most intimate sexual fantasies, secrets, and perversities. Reissue.Review by Publisher Summary 3
NATIONAL BESTSELLER Vox is a novel that remaps the territory of sex—sex solitary and telephonic, lyrical and profane, comfortable and dangerous. It is an erotic classic that places Nicholson Baker firmly in the first rank of major American writers.