At age 12, in his hometown of Uniondale, Long Island, Moschitta heard that anyone who broke a Guinness record would get his or her name on television in an annual cerebral-palsy telethon. He thinks being from New York may have given him an edge, along with having five sisters in a boisterous Italian family in which you had to think fast to get a word in edgewise. Young Moschitta locked himself in his room and drilled himself on tongue twisters.
But for all the doors the Guinness record opened, Moschitta says, it also brought him years of unexpected strife, as a string of imitators attempted to steal his title. Then, in , British car salesman Steve Woodmore seemingly blew everyone out of the water, spewing words a minute reading from the Tom Clancy novel Patriot Games. But when a linguist later listened to the tape, Woodmore was found to have left a sentence out, and so Moschitta, again, believed himself to be the rightful winner.
The creator of the universe may also be a bad-tempered old whiskey-swilling car mechanic, and his worst enemy may be his ex-wife in a Chevrolet, but not really. A road trip across the American Myth to the cold heart of the world. My only complaint is that there wasn't more of it--if you're going to work on the level of myth, you need to be prepared for that grand and complicated scale. Somewhere between this and American Gods would be absolutely perfect. But closer to this. Apr 06, David Gillette rated it it was amazing. It's a sprawling high-fantasy trilogy in under two hundred pages, and set in America a couple of different Americas, actually.
It uses roads and cars as well as "Borgel" or "Nine Princes in Amber. It's an astoundingly controlled book. There are obvious parallels with "American Gods," but that book is so long and aspires to be so universal that I find it loses its way. Also, in "Talking Man," Bisson's protagonist is slightly more o Just delightful.
Also, in "Talking Man," Bisson's protagonist is slightly more of a person. From my admittedly limited experience of Appalachia, he gets it just about right.
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The concept of a junkyard wizard and a quest across America-as-the-universe is so incredibly perfect that it's hard to imagine, once you've read this book, that it could be done any other way, or be done wrong, but of course it is, all the time. Orson Scott Card's similarly theological alternate-Americana which I actually like a great deal goes on too long, and gets, well, a bit Orson Scott Card. And that's just it. This book encapsulates, for me, what I like about Terry Bisson books: Jan 12, Dee rated it really liked it.
Talking Man is perhaps the best fantasy book I have read. Well, what can "best" mean? Probably "that I am most glad to have read. Moving forward with perfect ease, a traveler or reader may travel far simply for the pleasure of movement. I have Talking Man is perhaps the best fantasy book I have read.
I have much to say about this short book, and too little time as I write, at present, so please forgive my careless grammar and mixed tenses. It is the hybrid structure of this tale, myth told in a manner similar to many American road movies and the effortless, affable character of the narration which led me so easily.
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There are plenty of reviews mentioning the whimsy and broad imagination of the book, the easy language of the South and authenticity of it's Americana and so forth, so I'd like to think about the structure of this tale. To contrast, "The Hobbit" is a great example of the heroic journey, a fact Tolkien expresses self-consciously, text-within-the-text reference style, in Bilbo's book about his adventure, "There and Back Again.
It encompasses more than one character's or one group's journey so it is not a geometrically perfect fairytale or myth; it is an excellent short novel. It isn't as the masterful as the greater novels in the Western Cannon of literature and its craft is not a perfect as Tolkien's but it is still "the best fantasy book I have read.
At the start, we a have a very nice, homey setting and an interesting, partial history, which is disturbed-the way many stories begin.
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The more comfortable and homey the initial setting is, the more motivated I am to read about how the characters restore it's balance once it has been disturbed. So the idyllic, comfy, friendly, quirky home of our characters is upset. Because they are so lovable, this perturbed me.
I wanted them safe and happy I had to read until I knew they were! The charms of quirky mystery such as magical engine repair, promised secrets to be revealed as the heroine's journey unrolled. The question of what, why and hows, of origins are a mystery which in addition to my sympathy with the characters, magnetically drew me along with the characters in various cars across an incredible, changing, magical American dreamscape. The constant change in the landscape is reflected in the transformation of the characters and unfolding of their relationships.
As the landscape is revealed, history and mystery are revealed to our protagonist, Crystal, who motors up along her father's tail stream, then to her friend-become-lover, William Williams, who's pulled along in HER tail stream. And finally these revelations drew the me along as in a tailstream.
In my reading, I found myself invested in them all, every character, even in oppositionally to Dgene, the antagonist. Dec 09, Jack rated it really liked it Shelves: A beautiful and strange story, unlike anything else I've read. Bisson introduces with equal aplomb the sound of an old John Deere A tractor Boom chunk chunk chunk boom chunk chunk and the sight of the six-mile wide Mississippi River Canyon, with fishermen dragging out year-old catfish as big as a house.
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In the best possible sense, a book full of magic. Jun 27, Bob Nolin rated it it was ok.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved his recent book "Any Day Now," which featured an alternate history of the sixties and a protagonist who was a mechanic. Bisson's an auto mechanic, among other things. Then I read "The Pickup Artist," which was okay, funny. Today I read the short novel in question, and it contained some of the same things from the other two novels. Road trips, for one. Both "Any Day Now" and this book contain alternate versions of America.
But "Talking Man" was boring as hell.
It's nearly all one long car ride with two characters who, though having just met, hardly ever say more than three words to each other. Imagine a road trip with no talking. Who are these two people? It's in very limited third person, and there's no view into their heads. So if neither is talking and the author ain't saying much either, there's no reason to care about these two.
The title character, for some reason, never talks at all! He's a wizard, and a car mechanic, and the story is about two teenagers driving all the way from Kentucky to New Mexico for, really, no reason, other than that Talking Man has gone there, and they are trying to find him. We don't know until the end.
From New Mexico which morphs into Mexico, while everything else slowly changes, too, though why is never explained they head to Which is now no longer a polar ice cap, but is instead a bunch of empty identical blockhouses with nobody home. Why are they there? The final magical confrontation between Talking Man and his former sorceress girlfriend gone bad again, no explanation given for why she's turned evil is, to say the least, disappointingly dull and leaves nearly everything unanswered.
The two teenagers are trailer trash from the south, the girl smokes a lot and the book seems to be filled with her lighting cigarettes and the two of them switching places, while driving, which I suppose is meant to convey some sense of urgency.