Linda Rosenkrantz


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The New York Review of Books, Inc
20 August 2015
ISBN: 9781590178447
240 pages

From the publisher

Talk is a hilariously irreverent and racy testament to dialogue: the gossip, questioning, analysis, arguments, and revelations that make up our closest friendships. It’s the summer of 1965 and Emily, Vincent, and Marsha are at the beach. All three are ambitious and artistic; all are hovering around thirty; and all are deeply and mercilessly invested in analyzing themselves and everyone around them. The friends discuss sex, shrinks, psychedelics, sculpture, and S and M in an ongoing dialogue where anything goes and no topic is off limits. Talk is the result of these conversations, recorded by Linda Rosenkrantz and transformed into a novel whose form and content put it well ahead of its time. Controversial upon its first publication in 1968, Talk remains fresh, lascivious, and laugh-out-loud funny nearly fifty years later.


“Now reissued, it remains fresh, funny and disarming...The three friends provide great entertainment even (or especially) in the grips of competitive neuroses and misanthropy.”
—John Williams, The New York Times

Talk is an era-defining text. With its unvarnished ‘realism’ and its celebration of marginalized groups, Talk argues that the everyday language of men and women is valuable, important, and worthy of a book.”
—The Millions

“Cool, astringent...something new, something beyond black humor or pop fiction.”
—The New Republic

“A novel like this is what results when you bring a tape recorder to the beach with your super smart friends….compulsively readable, eternally relevant.”
—Emily Temple, Flavorwire

“Today the book reads well, as smart and up-to-date as an episode of Girls or Broad City – after half a century it’s still a terrific beach read.”
Michael Silverblatt, KCRW’s Bookworm

“Are New Yorkers the best talkers in the world? We’ve become familiar now with this style of talk – smart, witty, ironic, tangential, obsessing over trivia – through sitcoms like Friends; but Rosenkratz was among the first to realise that it’s an art-form in its own right.”
—Brandon Robshaw, The Independent (UK)

“[Talk] makes for refreshingly tart summer reading.”
—Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

Talk gave me a sizzling Warholian window into the smart-mouthed freaky New York scene of the late 1960s. I was overwhelmed by a desire to jump in a time machine.”
—Simon Doonan, author of The Asylum

“Utterly hip, utterly frank, utterly amoral.”
—New Haven Register

“The rawest of raw material is hashed over in detail, but with such clinical openness and enthusiasm that one is far more often delighted and stimulated than embarrassed or shocked.”
—James Leo Herlihy, author of Midnight Cowboy, Book World

“The three [main characters] mercilessly dissect themselves and each other. Ostensibly everything goes in, with sudden realistic swerves of attention from the state of their souls and their sex-lives to the cooking—from egos to eggs, so to speak, which is very much the way life is...The pattern of self-revelation is far from coarse: it is eloquent and convincing, with its insights suddenly stumbled upon, its slender bridges of nervous sympathy that join each private island to the threatening outside world.”
—Norman Shrapnel, The Guardian

“It is sometimes hard to remember just how radical Talk was when it was published. Rosenkrantz’s innovative process of using transcribed recorded conversation as dialogue introduced a level of reality not unlike the choice to paint from photographs instead of live models.”
—Chuck Close

“The characters are defined by speech alone, and the talk is of a kind that has been missing from literature...Miss Rosenkrantz’s importance as a writer is to have shown, right away in her first book, that exact data can go into a novel without the pressures of conventional plot and character requirements.”

“Talk is smart and funny and raunchy, and very very quotable.”
—The Toast

“Perfect for when you go to the beach alone then decide you could use some company.”
—Donald Stahl, Blouin Artinfo

“We encounter Talk as a testament to conversation as a means of revealing the intersections between art and life, candour and self-awareness, and the ways in which these facets of modern life influence human relationships and critical thinking”
—Esmé Hogeveen, C Magazine