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3.49  ·  Rating details ·  403 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Friendships are built on chatter, on gossip, on revelations—on talk. Over the course of the summer of 1965, Linda Rosenkrantz taped conversations between three friends (two straight, one gay) on the cusp of thirty vacationing at the beach: Emily, an actor; Vince, a painter; and Marsha, a writer. The result was Talk, a novel in dialogue. The friends are ambitious, conflicte ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by NYRB Classics (first published May 28th 1968)
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3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  403 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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May 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
I can't even defend myself. This is bad. Really, really bad. I can not imagine that Fifty Shades of Grey could be worse.

The back of the book says it is "a hilariously irreverent and racy testament to dialogue." It is, if you can imagine, real-time (1965) dialogue of three friends: Marsha, Emily and Vincent. Vincent is gay, mostly. A lot of their Talk is on the beach. More from the book's back: The friends discuss sex, shrinks, psychedelics, sculpture, and S and M in an ongoing dialogue where an
Julie Ehlers
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Like a literary version of The Real World, Talk began life as hours upon hours of audiotape and over a thousand pages of transcript, all edited down to a 200-page book about three friends, Emily, Marsha, and Vince, who are spending the summer in the Hamptons somewhere in the early to mid-1960s. Cameo appearances are made by Emily's cat, Jonquil, and a number of other characters are discussed extensively, including Emily's alcoholic friend Sick Joan and the panoply of men the three principals hav ...more
Parthiban Sekar
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: discontinued
Sorry! I am not going to talk about this Talk which initially attracted me by its seemingly interesting conversation of three not-so-common individuals. But, later, the individuals have turned to be mere common folks who hardly deserve any sympathy and who seem not worth our attention. The details of their past affairs, broken marriages, childhood in a closet, platonic loves, loveless intercourse, and unappetizing pastries turn out to be droll for me. Hence I quit listening. Well, you may talk!
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty damn wonderful! A cool, sophisticated, personal
'window' on sex from a woman in the late '60s. A lost gem.
Long before Jong & Janowitz, and those femme scribes of
anger and Etcs., there was (bless her) Linda Rosenkrantz.
A forgotten, indeed, unknown name today, she was a trail-
blazer among Chicklit (oogly word) writing. Why doesn't
NYRB reissue, huhhh?

On Ham weekend I found this in the den and it's all about
weekending in the Hamptons in '60s when likeables vacationed
there. (Today, vulgair
Daniel: I went on a date last night and I think it may have been the worst experience of my life.
Margaret: I already did this review.
Rebecca: Your roommate literally died once and this is the worst thing?
Autumn: Tell me about your awful date.
Daniel: I really liked him before we met, it’s so easy to like someone when you have no first-hand experiences of that person.
Autumn: Wait, am I going to be fictionalized wildly for the purpose of this review?
Daniel: Absolutely, this conversation never happ
Peter Landau
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
TALK by Linda Rosenkrantz is concept lit, in that the concept was to spend a summer tape recording her friends’ conversations and then transcribe the tapes and edit them down into a “novel-in-dialogue.” It’s an interesting experiment, which captures a time, place and culture (mid-1960s, East Hampton, creative bourgeois), and also forms a narrative of three friends’ intimate relationship. They eat, drink, go to parties, talk about sex and masturbation and drugs, have sex and gossip. Sounds like f ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
EMILY: What's the matter, darling?
VINCENT: I'm so sad.
VINCENT: Because that's what being alive is.
EMILY: I know it, I'm sad all the fucking time, you have no idea.
VINCENT: I heard something last week about what makes humans different from animals, some gorgeous basic thing, like that humans have memories, but it's not that.
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
In the introduction to the NYRB 2015 republication of Talk, Stephen Koch compares the book -- book, not novel, in Rosenkrantz's own estimation from a recent Paris Review article -- to Girls, Broad City, , and Sheila Heti's How Should a Person Be?. Indeed, he cites it as the precursor to "reality" entertainment; a long-forgotten matriarch to a recent rise in confessional, friendship-focused, "authentic," reality or realistic media. And listen -- this turned me off of the book going into it. ...more
Nate D
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
There's a kind of false transparency about this (taped conversations between friends chatting on the beach in the Hamptons in 1965 transcribed as "novel") that belies Rosenkrantz's deftness in piecing these three lives together from the countless more she recorded as sources. The result is warm, strongly characterized, and precisely sequenced. It's also very funny, off-handedly funny because the characters are so full realized and likeable (how could people so real be in fact composites!?) that ...more
20 hours ago

Daniel: how was "talk"?
Me: I thought it was pretty good
The whole "tape recorded" dialog thing makes me skeptical in actual execution since there was the author there? maybe? for these conversations
but I liked how natural the dialog was
Daniel: Ok cool. When I was looking at their releases for this year forever ago that was one of the major ones that stuck out to me
Me: It's pretty neat, all experimental and 1960s ish

a few seconds ago
Me: Can I just put up our conversation about Talk fro
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it

New York Review of Books (NYRB) is brilliant in that they re-issue titles that somehow fell between the cracks of memory and acceptance. "Talk" by Linda Rosenkrantz is a very unusual "novel" in that it is a book that consist only of dialogue, and nothing else but a dialogue. Rosenkrantz took her tape recorder and taped her friends chatting away about sex, drugs, food, and the slippery subject of happiness. Originally she had 25 characters, but then edited it down to three characters, who are the
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nyrb
Elsewhere I described this as my literary summer soundtrack, and I’m not sure I can come up with anything better. Talk, which was originally published in 1968, is the transcript of three friends talking to each other out in the Hamptons during the summer of 1965—originally a number of friends taped by Rosenkrantz, distilled down to two women and their gay male best friend. They’re in their late 20s/early 30s, involved in the 1960s New York art scene—Andy Warhol and Henry Geldzahler are name-drop ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it liked it
The kind of book that seems utterly fascinating when you give it a cursory flip-through at the bookstore but is pretty hit or miss when you actually sit down to read it at home.
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up at the bookstore, read the first page, and knew it was for me.


MARSHA: By the way, is the thing you brought me a dessert or a snack?

EMILY: Both.

MARSHA: Is it something that goes with milk?


MARSHA: Oh, that's great, just great.

EMILY: I'm sorry, I didn't have enough money to get milk because the thing was so expensive, but I love the question about the milk.


I want to give this book to everyone I know... or maybe just every woman I know. It probably
Sep 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Imagine the Sex in the City TV series transplanted to the mid-1960s and turned into a novel composed entirely of dialogue - with no plot and only three characters - and you've got Talk. Many of the books' brief chapters consist of what might charitably be called self-involved blather about the characters' psychoanalysis and interrelations. Fortunately, other chapters are chock full of witty persiflage and interesting details about social life in the swinging '60s. Overall I'd say the book is fla ...more
Jed Mayer
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book about nothing, and proud of it.
James Murphy
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Talk is a novel easy to like. It's a novel made up of the conversations of Vincent, Marsha, and Emily that run the course of a summer spent in East Hampton. Stephen Koch, in his "Introduction," described this as a kind of reality novel. As he tells it, Rosenkrantz began it by taping the conversations of friends during a summer at the beach. Then she created her novel by reducing the talk of 25 people and 1500 pages of transcript into 215 pages and 28 conversations between 3 of them--not characte ...more
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I’m so glad I stumbled upon this book. I was in the mood for a book that explored friendships and this fit the bill beautifully. As described in the summary, Linda Rosenkrantz tape-recorded herself and her art-world friends while they were summering in the Hamptons in 1965. She then compiled some of the conversations – about relationships, sex, drugs, childhood trauma, fears, silliness, and hope – to form this book.

I hesitate to recommend this book because it is unusual. There is no “plot” per
Peyton Van amburgh
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
MARSHA: Where is the water coming from?

EMILY: Probably the shithead's giving me a spraygun. This guy over here's got an erection.

MARSHA: All right, so tell me about the life you're going back to.

EMILY: I'm getting sprayguns like crazy here. I may be lying down any minute, I have a feeling it's warmer down there. You want to know about my life in New York?

MARSHA: Yeah, don't you?

EMILY: Well, I'm going to get the money people owe me, number one. I'm going to hit class and hit an agent. I'll see wh
Sarah Idriss
Nov 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
This is by far the most awful book I've ever picked up. Vapid characters that normal people can't relate to. Let me give you an example:

Vincent: I'm so sad.
Emily: why?
Vincent: because that's what being alive is.

Oh come on.

I prefer to believe that all these conversations are fabricated because it pains me to think these people existed. This is not groundbreaking. It's garbage.

After racing to finish this so I can read something that doesn't melt my brain, I feel very strongly that it should never
Don Hackett
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A remarkable novel of 1965, all dialog, with a little context provided by chapter titles. Three friends close to 30 years old spend the summer on the beach in Long Island and talk, the three together or in pairs. The author did record herself and her friends for one summer, and edited a huge mass of words into this novel to capture the way people really talk. Two heterosexual women, an actor and a writer and one homosexual man, an artist; all are in analysis and sensitive to their own and each o ...more
Jaime Bruno
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I hate reality television and this book is its predecessor. Everyone is awful and self-absorbed, obsessed with analyzing themselves and each other. At times it felt like finishing this book would be impossible because their conversations were tedious, immature, and flat out annoying. I was completely surprised to learn that all three of these people were in their thirties. I was thinking they were just spoiled 18-20 year olds who spent too much time in therapy.

That being said, this book was a v
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fiction - Literary, Realism, 1960s, LGBTQ, Feminism. NYRB Trade Paperback. Found browsing the shelves at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park.

Over the course of several months, the author transcribed 1500 pages of dialogue and whittled it down to this slim novel documenting the interactions of three friends over one summer in the Hamptons. Remove a few political references and this book feels like it could be written today. It’s forthright, conversational and personal, an amazing achievement for such a
Tom Wascoe
Jul 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
Did not like this book at all. Was ready to stop reading but only a 215 page book, so didn't. Supposedly the author taped conversations all summer in the 60's and distilled the conversations down to a few with three main characters. The conversations are rambling, nonsensical and held by narcissistic, self-centered individuals. Would not recommend this book.
Mar 26, 2016 rated it liked it
These characters -- people -- if they were 30 in 1965, are in their 80s now. Three privileged young people spend a summer talking about sex, food, and analysis. Laugh-out-loud funny at times, but ultimately both slight and hard to get through.
Chris Grawl
Jul 17, 2015 rated it liked it
the preface to this book compared it to broad city and girls. i'd say it's more like girls because i hate everybody in it.

worth the read for its concept, even if i do question its "reality" and, as i may have mentioned, hate everybody in it.
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant but desperately sad.
Peter Clarke
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I wish they were my friends and I wish I'd had this idea!
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Page after page of casual conversation transcript made into a novel through Rosenkrantz’s careful selection and placement. Truth be told, long stretches of this are about as interesting as hearing someone describe their dream to you, or listening in on someone who’s high and thinks they’re the smartest person in the world, but the book scratches well a very particular itch of mine: the countless stories, confrontations, conversations and speeches that are lost to history because no one was there ...more
tortoise dreams
Apr 24, 2016 rated it liked it
A "reality novel," purportedly transcribed from taped conversations of three friends over the summer of 1965 in the Hamptons.

The introduction to Talk by Linda Rosenkrantz adamantly states that none "of the dialogue in this book was invented." The dialogue, however, was edited, so one may wonder where the editing started and stopped; we'll never know. Originally published in 1968, this books consists of the conversations of three wealthy 30-somethings who are no more deep or intelligent than anyo
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