Patrick Warner’s double talk offers an astute look into the “doubleness” of life through the intersecting lives of Brian (Baby) Power and Violet Budd. At the beginning of the story, the reader is automatically on Violet’s side as we witness Brian smacking her across the face and calling her a, well, a word no woman ever wants to be called. Stunned by this uncharacteristic display of violence she thinks, “He hit me… The asshole hit me. She couldn’t believe it. He’d outdone himself” (13). Then the story unfolds from fourteen years earlier when they are both teenagers exploring the world from separate vantage points.
What we have is the same story told from two different perspectives, and as the French flap states, it is indeed a love story told in reverse. What I found particularly interesting is the way Warner plays with perspective, reality, responsibility and blame. It is so very true to the way real life works when we’re intimately involved and self-absorbed making it difficult to appreciate and accept the doubleness of our lives begging the question if “it [is] ever possible to truly know another person” (97).
Warner extends the two sides to every story adage and it subconsciously becomes a lesson in understanding for the reader. While at times dark and brooding, double talk is also hilarious, and expertly told with a fistful of hardy writing that is sleek, precise and altogether sexy.