It’s the summer of 1965: the war in Vietnam rages; Bob Dylan goes electric; President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act into law. The United States records its first spacewalk, the Supremes and the Beach Boys float to the top of the charts, and Watts is burning. Three friends from New York City, Emily, Marsha, and Vincent—the clever, expressive, and oft-intoxicated protagonists of Linda Rosenkrantz’s Talk—go to East Hampton to lie on the beach.
Talk is realism at its most literal, sourced from weeks of conversation between Rosenkrantz and her friends (captured by a portable, ever-rolling tape recorder). The friends are neurotic creatives: an actress, painter, and writer, respectively. (There is compelling evidence that Marsha is based on Rosenkrantz herself.) They flirt, gossip, divulge, and analyze; they eat and drink and fret. The book is solely dialogue—scriptlike in format, but stripped of blocking, emotional cues, and narrative