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Vox

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  4,561 Ratings  ·  398 Reviews
Baker has written a novel that remaps the territory of sex--solitary and telephonic, lyrical and profane, comfortable and dangerous. Written in the form of a phone conversation between two strangers, Vox is an erotic classic that places the author in the first rank of America's major writers. Reading tour.
162 pages
Published 2008 by Bompiani (first published February 21st 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Manny
There's such a diversity of opinions concerning this book that I can't bring myself to take sides. Instead, I present

Your cut-out-and-keep do-it-yourself Vox reviewing kit

This (ground-breaking/tedious/overhyped/short) novel does for phone sex what (Last Tango in Paris/Lady Chatterley's Lover/Death in the Afternoon/The Bell Jar/Ben Hur) did for (sodomy/gamekeepers/bullfighting/suicide/chariot-racing).

The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads polic
...more
Cecily


Vox… Sounds almost like an expletive... It’s Latin for voice… But also a US news website… A children’s book I read to my then eight-year old… Vox pop… Ultravox… and so back to voice.

This short book reads as the transcript of the conversation between two strangers, Abby and Jim, who connect, one-to-one, via a sex line in the early 1990s.

The brain is the sexiest organ, and the voice is a conduit from one mind to another: pitch, timbre, accent, and intonation determine the hearer’s response at lea
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MJ Nicholls
Sep 29, 2011 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, merkins
I liked this. Right now it’s 11.51PM (later when the review is complete) and I would rather be munching a shellfish platter than writing this review, but here goes. (That was not an innuendo, in case you were worried. However, it is a little known fact that men are attracted to oysters as it’s the closest they can get to cunnilingus in food form. I was told this at a marine snack-shack in Orkney). So. Two people dial a sex chat line, switch to a private room, and have a natural conversation that ...more
Yulia
Jun 24, 2008 Yulia marked it as left-unfinished  ·  review of another edition
What surprised me about this book was just how boring it was. I'd purchased it in college, after having gotten to know (as much as one can know someone you can't trust) over several months of almost daily calls the random phone sex caller at my college. And, as happens in this book, our talks ranged in subject from his religious views (which I found quite odd, considering how he'd found me) to philosophy to my negative views of myself. And so my expectations were very high when I found out about ...more
Jasmine
Jun 14, 2010 Jasmine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
Do you know why emoticons exist?

The theory in psychology is that a large portion of communication is nonverbal and an even larger portion of this is actually specifically facial. So what happens when you take seeing someone out of the picture? "I liked your voice" "What are you wearing" "which hand" and that sort of thing. I am left to wonder if perhaps phone sex party lines might be the reason men can no longer read body language. Gentleman, crossed arms means don't approach. This book is inte
...more
Jim
Nov 15, 2008 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone willing expand their vocabulary.
Recommended to Jim by: Free book with a Latin word for a title. Who wouldn't read it?
Vox...If you are a slang and vocabulary junkie who can read inappropriate adult material, then I very highly
recommend Nicholson Baker as your new favorite author.

I laughed so hard out loud and alone while reading this book. I learned so many new terms for body parts and acts of sin from Vox.

Of course, ten years after the book came out, they're more common terms. Not between you and I, of course. We're too polite when we speak on an adult chat line to each other.

Vox is a very short book, less th
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Christopher
Mar 11, 2014 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So the entire novel is a phone conversation held between a man and a woman who found each other on a sex hotline. It's supremely unsexy, so if you're looking for porn, look elsewhere. But it is at times an interesting conversation to eavesdrop upon. I've seen other reviewers who say things like, "the conversation isn't very lifelike" or "there's far less Christian Grey in this than I'd prefer", to which I'd say: "I don't think you get it". Nicholson Baker is a weird dude who likes to tap into th ...more
Molly
Jan 20, 2009 Molly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After finishing up Double Fold, Baker's fantastic treatise on the phasing-out of paper (and therefore invaluable and irreplaceable archives) at important libraries here and abroad, I had to go back and revisit Vox, his very well-received phone sex novel. The book consists in a phone sex conversation between Jim and Abby, two adults who serendipitously meet through what is probably a more explicit version of LavaLife (anyone else see those late-night commercials?). This, I know, sounds like a lam ...more
Evan
I have to give the author credit for bravery, for writing something this poorly and having no compunction or fear about putting it out there for all eyes to see and minds to ponder. It would be like me putting the first drafts of my own aborted novels out there; works that I simply couldn't bear having anyone look at. I learned a few things: that the discoloration of genitalia on Roman statues is due to people cumming on them, and that guys hang around the frozen food section of the store to see ...more
Jennifer
Apr 01, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Anil
Jul 18, 2010 Anil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

---------------------
I am already getting enough ribs for carrying around this book.

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
...more
Tatiana
Nov 12, 2007 Tatiana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: new school writing teacher
this guy... my writing teacher explained his books as basically huge magnifying glasses. one of his books, i believe, takes place entirely on one person's escalator ride from one floor to another. there's another book where someone picks lint out of his belly button for the entire length of the book. in this book, this guy calls a 900 number and has phone sex. that's the entire book. so we're talking a time span of a few hours at the very most. what's interesting though (and the book is entirely ...more
Matt
Feb 17, 2008 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: satire, miniature
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lindsey
Jan 26, 2009 Lindsey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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...
...more
Bert
Jun 10, 2016 Bert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. I also LOVE that Monica Lewinsky bought this for Bill Clinton, the BALLS of that! 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 ...more
David
Jun 17, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ben Loory
i'd be willing to bet that nicholson baker got the idea for this book one day while simply staring closely at the word VOX. at the individual letters, at the whole word. it's all right there. kinda had to be done.
Jessica
Disappointing. I read this before the Monica-Bill affair btw. I'm a fan of Baker's but I found the book tepid and wanting, given the subject & set-up.
Chez Hilroy
The cover says: "A brilliantly funny, perversely tender and technically breathtaking erotic novel." Inside the cover it says: "The most overtly feminist sex novel that anyone has attempted in years. 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."

It was very foolish of me to put any stock in a description of feminism relying on stereotypes of
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Tim
Sep 18, 2009 Tim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book details a single conversation between two people on a phone sex chat line. Neither party is a professional, rather they are both just ordinary everyday people who made the choice to call the line, liked the sound of each other's voices in the group area, and decided to switch to a single private line where they talk only to each other. This is where the book begins.

Though the purpose of their call is for each of them to climax, they end up getting into a long conversation in the proces
...more
Karl Marx S.T.
Jun 01, 2012 Karl Marx S.T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vox is a highly entertaining novel from the highly observant author Nicholson Baker. If you’re familiar on how his first novel The Mezzanine was just about an office employer’s lunch expedition to buy new shoe laces, you’ll have an idea how this brilliant author makes a premise that sounds a bit thin and boring and makes it highly entertaining and informative.

Vox is about a 165-page length conversation about Jim and Abby, who meets over the phone when they both dial one of those enticing adverti
...more
Yair Ben-Zvi
I enjoyed this book more for what it attempted rather than for what it actually achieved. As a careful delineation (and even negotiation) of the trials and pitfalls attached to human emotional (and just as presciently, physical) connections the book falls a bit short, not due to lack of authorial skill but more due to Nicholson Baker failing to develop his ideas just a bit further than what he gave us.

However I would definitely be lacking as a reader/reviewer if I didn't make mention of the incr
...more
Jim
May 03, 2013 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Over breakfast this morning my wife told me that it’s National Masturbation Month and so I suppose it’s appropriate that the first book I read this month was Nicholson Baker’s Vox. It’s a book I’ve been aware of for many years—I remember flicking through a copy in John Menzies in 1992 when it first came out—but avoided it and I’ve only read it now after reading three other books by him because I’m becoming increasingly interested in dialogue novels. In that respect the book did not disappoint an
...more
Mel Campbell
I first read this book maybe 10 years ago, after an Is Not Magazine contributor did a really interesting review of it. I'd already read The Fermata and thought of Nicholson Baker as a gleefully honest chronicler of the most perverse erotic pleasures.

My reason for re-reading Vox is that I was writing an essay about ASMR and the difficulty of conveying sensory experiences (which are felt) in an audiovisual medium where they must also be represented. My experiment in the essay was trying to use
...more
Liz
Oct 10, 2008 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I am reading 4 books at the moment, I slid this litte gem in between them and read it from cover to cover. I love the fact that it's about phone sex (the entire novel is one telephone conversation), but it is so well-written and the characters are so well-detailed that it is completely satisfying. Not that a written phone sex conversation wouldn't be, it just gives you more than a lead-up to a money shot, that's all.

The idea of telephone sex and the level of intimacy versus the dist
...more
Jessica
Sep 27, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Read my full review here: http://virtualmargin.blogspot.com/2011/05/vox-22100.html

Vox is a 1992 novella by Nicholson Baker. The 1992 is important, since it's about 2 people chatting over an adult hotline. The entire book is a transcript of their conversation. I love how the book seems like such a relic of its publication date. A phone conversation? HA...how 1992.

FUN FACT: Monica Lewinsky gave a copy of this book to Bill Clinton as a gift. How 1998!

In Vox the two characters, protected by anonymit
...more
A
Mar 21, 2011 A rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
The Mezzanine is a book I think about on a weekly basis; it's frightening how much my brain works in exactly the same way as the brain of Nicholson Baker -- meandering, silly, slightly dorky. So I cracked open Vox excited to watch that same frisky intellect dissect everyone's favorite topics of sex, love, intimacy, etc. But to quote "Glitter and Be Gay" from Candide -- "Oh, twas not to be." There were exactly two pages where this was interesting -- a paragraph on how love is like a radio station ...more
Brent Legault
. . .Vox, a single-issue novel (sex), also a single-mode novel (dialogue), and further disembodied by the fact the the two protagonists never touch or meet, communicating only by party line. The object, the thing, in this case, is the telephone -- that frictionless technology. Vox is frictionless too, and thus meets a contemporary demand: it asks nothing of you. Modern tendencies -- safe sex, pornography, human dwindling -- are present as accepted guests, not as intruders. Sunniness and perversi ...more
Varyanne Sika
Feb 11, 2012 Varyanne Sika rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was too much for my timid mind.

Phone sex.
Safe sex.
Sex.
Loneliness?
Forging a connection over the telephone...detailed descriptions of a common type of auto-eroticism; masturbation, exchanged between two people.
Vox was an extremely difficult book to read. I read it out of curiosity,and my curiosity died less than halfway into the book. My head is still spinning trying to understand where the hell this concept came from and entered Nicholson Baker's head.


This NY Times article on Nicholso
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Chance Lee
Oct 06, 2011 Chance Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been wanting to read another book by Nicholson Baker ever since I read--and loved--The Fermata. This one isn't as striking or profound as I found that one, but an enjoyable read nonetheless. Still, I feel like he hadn't quite let loose yet. There is a bit of wordplay, creating new words (which, in a weird backwards way, redefine the meanings of the words they're replacing) for sex and body parts; however, it's not as deliciously fun and funny as it is in The Fermata.

Vox is almost impossibl
...more
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Nicholson Baker is a contemporary American writer of fiction and non-fiction. As a novelist, his writings focus on minute inspection of his characters' and narrators' stream of consciousness. His unconventional novels deal with topics such as voyeurism and planned assassination, and they generally de-emphasize narrative in favor of intense character work. Baker's enthusiasts appreciate his ability ...more
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