"By T.C. Boyle; Penguin; $14
Now out in paperback, Talk Talk is a rollicking roller coaster of a thriller about identity theft. Boyle, whose works include World’s End and The Road to Wellville, places a deaf woman, Dana Halter, at the center of his nightmarish narrative about what happens when someone uses your name to create wealth — at your expense. Halter’s deafness plays as a larger metaphor of being outside mainstream America — a perfect complement to another outsider, Peck Wilson, the man who’s stolen her identity. Wilson is menacing and slick and pathetic all at once, having created a fluid existence built upon lies. Meanwhile, he’s trying to figure out how to keep his girlfriend, Natalia, and her daughter from discovering the truth about him.
Boyle doesn’t make it easy on us: Dana is flawed (stubborn); her boyfriend Bridger sometimes seems lost in a PhotoShop fog and Wilson has constructed such a complicated web that it’s impossible not to feel an occasional pang of sympathy.