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Talk of the Town Paperback – 5 Jun 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (5 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330509934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330509930
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 669,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A crucial new voice.' -- Herald

'A fierce cry of talent...Polley's language is mercurial, his humour quick and surprising. A moving and unmissable debut.' -- Chris Cleave

'Few contemporary writers have captured the unease of in-between states with the same wired luminosity as Polley.' -- Metro

'His language - which seems to crackle with electricity - conjures up a darkening sense of unease.'
-- Tina Jackson, Metro

'It is one of the many achievements of Talk of the Town that, as we read, we hope [Chris] will emerge, if not physically unscathed, then at least not so emotionally damaged that he sinks permanently into the grim rictus of cool.'
-- Guardian

'Polley's beguiling prose style tests the limits of language, blending lyricism with brutality; juxtaposing tenderness with vicious criminality.'
-- Independent

'Reminiscent at time of Huckleberry Finn, the debut is a brilliant evocation.'
-- Books Quarterly

'This debut is a brilliant evocation of a particular time and place from a new author who deserves a wide readership.' -- WBQ

`A solid, evocative, poetic and sharply perceptive debut novel.' -- Workington Times & Star

`Reminiscent at time of Huckleberry Finn, the debut is a brilliant evocation.'
-- Books Quarterly

Review

'A crucial new voice.'

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brian Hamilton TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 July 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Oh boy, this is good, really good. I love these stories, writing in local language, first person, coming of age stories.

What marks Polley out from other writers is his use of visualism, he was a poet before tackling straight prose and he throws some crazy shapes, your synapses crackle with the descriptors. He does it well, the narrator is a 14 year old boy and never do the clever visualisations sound forced or unconvincing.

The plot throws in the attendant violence, unrequitted passion and claustrophobic fear that teenagers encounter.

This really is a cracking read, the bulk of the story takes place over the course over a couple of days as the narrator and a (girl)friend try to track down a missing friend . The find him but there is a cracking twist when they do.

A really, really good read that deserves a wide audience.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Epigone VINE VOICE on 24 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Passing through the first page of this novel, I was struck by two things: firstly, the unashamedly poetic and wonderfully crafted language; and secondly, the wholly unnecessary faux-dialect in which it is enshrouded. Talk Of The Town is told first-person from the perspective of a harried and inquisitive fourteen-year-old boy, and throughout the book Polley maintains a voice which is at once believable, earthbound, and supremely heightened and self-aware. Polley is consistently inventive with language, always finding a new way to say something or illuminating a scene with a striking and novel metaphor.

On the other hand. In such tightly-constructed prose, Polley creates a language that subverts standard English only in its stretches towards poetry and never, to my mind, takes a chance on pushing towards that ungrammatical incoherence that might more accurately represent the stream of consciousness. This in itself is not a strategy to be criticised. However, in this light, it baffles me that the decision was made somewhere down the line to lay an accent over the top of all this. We can take it for granted that a teenager does not think or speak this way, not spontaneously, not really; so I don't quite understand why Polley saw fit to make the whole thing phonetically Cumbrian, which immediately creates a disjunct between the extravagance of the writing and the faux-realism of its presentation. Strictly speaking, Polley's not writing in a dialect; he's writing in an accent, and moreover one which does little to illuminate the script. It was a bit like listening to someone from Reading speaking in "Northernese". This was a huge barrier for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Shortly after a despicable crime has been committed, young teenage schoolboy Christopher Hearsey learns that his best mate Arthur has gone missing. What he has heard from local tough guy Bobby leads him to believe that Gill, who lives down the road, may know something about it. Christopher strikes up an unlikely alliance with Gill as together they set out to try to find Arthur. But the next 24 hours will hold a few surprises, not all of them pleasant, for the two youngsters.

Christopher relates events of this last day before the new school year starts, and he records it in his Cumbrian voice, so it takes a page or two to acclimatise to the narrative. But the prose has a poetic ring to it, and we see the world through the eyes of the youngster as Jacob Polley succeeds admirably in getting inside the mind of Christopher. The eyes of an inevitably slightly naive lad, as he tries to put on an acceptable front of indifference while he is in fact helpless and out of his depth.

The story swings from near farce to tense drama as events gradually unfold. Nothing is quite as it first appears, and one's heart goes out to Christopher when he finally discovers the truth, yet he stoically caries the day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Winslow Alan on 28 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Im usually a great fan of this genre and localised dialect style of writing but i have to be honest and say the charactors in this tale just didnt hold me, The use of the localised dialect which in the published work of authors such as Irvine Welsh and others is very effective and adds to the tale being told just doesnt work at all for me in The Talk of the Town and added nothing whatsoever to the story or the feel for the area it supposedly takes place in.
There are one or two amusing incidents that take place in the story that a lot of people will have similar memories of during their awkward teen years that will bring a smile to the face but those aside there isnt anything much to like (or dislike for that matter) about any of the charactors, i finished the tale not really caring about the goodies or the baddies or anyone infact,
The story itself unfolds very slowly at first but towards the end it unravels so quickly that it seems the author was working to a deadline that had passed or just decided to bring everything to a very rapid conclusion.
I just found myself reading another "Its Grim up north" tale that has been done many times over by many authors and i have to say in this case, been done better than this one.
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