Vox
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Vox

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  3,497 ratings  ·  317 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.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 26th 1993 by Vintage (first published 1992)
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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 in my book What Pooh Might Have Said to Dante and Other Futile Specul...more
MJ Nicholls
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
Jasmine
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
Yulia
Jun 24, 2008 Yulia marked it as left-unfinished
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
Jim
Nov 15, 2008 Jim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Christopher
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
Anil
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
Molly
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
Katheter, all the world's a.
Rather than being a turn-on, this made me really, really sad to read. I actually cried through much of it. Though perhaps this emotional reaction proves the book's power. Draws attention to how much realer than The Real a fictive mode or a fantasy can be in terms of capturing the distortion of emotional texture. But I hated it anyway. Chafed at the good-natured misogyny and rote, unsatisfying sex positivity. The phone sex conversation that comprises this short work amounts to a constant, muted s...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
Tatiana
Nov 12, 2007 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
David
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.
Jennifer
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
Tim
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 S.T.
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
Liz
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
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
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
Chance Lee
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
A
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
Varyanne Sika
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...more
matt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bennet
I'll add my two cents to the small change of positive opinion about this book. I really liked it and think it's just about the cleverest erotica I've read. It's the only time I can recall laughing out loud while reading erotica, not because it was being ridiculous but because it was genuinely funny. The entire thing, if you don't know, is a phone sex conversation between a man and a woman who have never met, which involves several purely friendly and refreshingly literary digressions. I recommen...more
Bob
I haven't really plumbed public opinion on whether Nicholson Baker's two sex books offer honest and interesting insights into the human sexual psyche, or are a bit creepy, or both. His tone remains much the same whether he is buying lunch or a pornographic video - bracingly observant of the minutia of products and objects and transient feelings in day to day life, and making you believe that all this tiny and tangential detail is the warp and woof of existence and should not be dismissed as too...more
Renato
Epa que porcaria mais asquerosa e, pior que tudo, chata. A primeira questão é essa; como é que um livro curto, "fast-passed" e com descrições minunciosas de fantasias sexuais esquisitas o suficiente para serem divertidas mas apresentadas com realismo suficiente para serem levadas a sério, como é que este livro pode ser absolutamente aborrecido? E fazer com que ainda assim, por aquela magia estranha que move os livros maus, as páginas se sucedam umas às outras? Que porcaria de uso da língua, que...more
Zach
This was a fast read and for the most part kept me dialed in to the story however I expected something more along the lines of the Mezzanine (which I had read directly before starting this) which I think left me feeling disappointed and might have tainted the read.

What I learned: balance your reading list - let an author breathe like a red wine for a while before jumping into another book. (Unless of course you're reading something like Harry Potter)
Mark
Some people may think Baker is prurient, others that he is deeply philosophical about relationships and sexuality. But there is no denying that he is a bold, fearless writer of erotic scenes and situations. This book, which revolves around practitioners of phone sex, shows off his curious mixture of eroticism and philosophical musing.
Lindsay
Jul 28, 2008 Lindsay rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: literary fiction readers
Recommended to Lindsay by: Patrick
Very interesting and original so far. This is a dialog-only novel between two characters who have called hotline meant for sexy conversation between two strangers. It sounds seedy, but actually comes off as highly experimental and literary because of the clever dialog and the gorgeous writing. Good read.
Matthew
This book is wacky! It deserves my love. Because it is wacky. But as this book demonstrates, what some find arousing, others find strange and boring. It is sexy conversation between two strangers, two wacky and intelligent strangers.

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15882
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
More about Nicholson Baker...
The Mezzanine The Anthologist The Fermata House of Holes A Box of Matches

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“Who cares about my cock? It'll fend for itself.” 2 likes
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