Richard Melo Happy Talk: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781935869177

Happy Talk: A Novel

4 avg rating
( 34 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9781935869177: Happy Talk: A Novel
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Gun-slinging American student nurses and boozy New York playwrights-turned-educational-filmmakers find themselves stuck in the Haiti of 1955 as part of a government plan to pump up tourism and turn the Magic Island into the next Hawaii. The story follows the travels of Culprit Clutch, who appears mostly through rumor and innuendo, and his strange encounters with a plane-hopping British spy, Haitian street magicians, and a Scandinavian zombie. Josie, Culprit's ghostly paramour with a morphine habit, may or may not have voodoo spirits flowing through her, but the power-mad doctor channeling Baron Samedi is sure as hell bent on Culprit's destruction. The novel’s cascading epilogues include a legendary car race down the length of Mexico; street theatre in Golden Gate Park, circa 1968; a Skylab mutiny; origins of the musical comedy Godspell; and cameos by the Nation of Islam and early followers of Jim Jones.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap:

A satire driven by dialogue, Happy Talk takes place among Americans sent to Haiti in the mid-1950s for a myriad of misdirected purposes, then follows their lives through the 1970s. Front and center are two star-crossed lovers: the errant filmmaker Culprit Clutch and his ghostly paramour, a nursing student named Josie.

A band of New York City playwrights-turned-educational filmmakers, the Useless Bums, are sent to northern Haiti to create a tourist film promoting the new sport of surfing on Haitian beaches. It’s part of a U.S. State Department/United Nations plan to turn Haiti into the new Hawaii. Joining the Bums are the Nightingales, American nursing students placed at a school in Haiti that’s been forgotten by their contacts in Washington. The students have found a cache of rifle and are living in anarchic conditions, while teaching themselves the art and science of nursing.

The surfing film does not turn out as planned, as there are no waves in northern Haiti. The question becomes, what length will the U.S. government go to establish surfing as a tourist attraction on the magic island? The film set creates a curious spectacle witnessed by Haitians, who provide spectacles of their own involving voodoo possession.

A power-mad doctor has taken over as State Department provost and imprisons Culprit Clutch on the grounds of impregnating a student nurse. The Nightingales and Useless Bums concoct a wild plan involving theatrics and a commando-style raid to set the world right. Meanwhile, a small expedition heads toward a town built by zombies with the goal of finding one.

It turns out Josie is not having a baby after all; it was a hysterical pregnancy. After years of crippling headaches, Josie then suffers from a hysterical death. Unable to locate her family, the Americans drop her coffin into the sea. She returns, walking from the water on the waveless beach. Together again with Culprit in his pension room, she sleeps all the time and never speaks.

The Nightingales and Useless Bums receive orders to return to the states. Culprit and another student nurse, Belinda, arrive too late for the voyage home. Josie, meanwhile, walks back into the sea, for good this time. The ocean turns orange, a mushroom cloud appears on the horizon, and waves begin to roll onto the beach.

The novel has cascading epilogues that follow the characters before and after their Haiti misadventures. A young Culprit Clutch films a tragic-comic car race across Mexico in 1950. Abbot Jaffe is jailed briefly on drug charges in 1967, then decides to write a musical revue based on Jesus’ teachings and in seeking advice from Leonard Bernstein, encounters members of the Nation of Islam who are building a UFO. Belinda Ballard finds herself adrift in hippie-era San Francisco and is recruited into Jim Jones’ church. Keith Clone is helping build a commuter rail tube beneath the San Francisco Bay and is recruited to work on Skylab. Once aboard the space station, Keith Clone desires to kiss one of his fellow astronauts and during a space walk witnesses the Mother Plane, a humongous interstellar craft piloted by black musicians.

Driven by its ensemble cast and Catch-22-style dialogue, Happy Talk is an absurdist take on history in the style of a 60s-era postmodern, black humor novel. A work that walks along the edge of contradiction, it's satiric yet sentimental, avant-garde yet accessible, offensive yet agreeable, a serious look into the American soul.

About the Author:

Richard Melo has written for Publishers Weekly, The Oregonian, Willamette Week, and The Believer. A graduate of San Francisco State University, he lives in Portland, OR where the world's rivers and oceans are always falling from the sky.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Richard Melo
ISBN 10: 1935869175 ISBN 13: 9781935869177
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Books-FYI, Inc.
(Cadiz, KY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 23MA3O009RB2

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 1.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

Richard Melo
ISBN 10: 1935869175 ISBN 13: 9781935869177
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory # 1935869175

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 8.87
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.60
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

Melo, Richard
ISBN 10: 1935869175 ISBN 13: 9781935869177
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Pbshop
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2013. PAP. Condition: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IB-9781935869177

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 9.36
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

Melo, Richard
Published by Red Lemonade
ISBN 10: 1935869175 ISBN 13: 9781935869177
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Booklot COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Red Lemonade. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 1935869175. Seller Inventory # Z1935869175ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 14.17
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

Melo, Richard
Published by Red Lemonade
ISBN 10: 1935869175 ISBN 13: 9781935869177
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Mega Buzz
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Red Lemonade. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 1935869175. Seller Inventory # Z1935869175ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 14.17
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

6.

Melo, Richard
Published by Red Lemonade
ISBN 10: 1935869175 ISBN 13: 9781935869177
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Best Bates
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Red Lemonade. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 1935869175. Seller Inventory # Z1935869175ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 14.17
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

7.

Melo, Richard
Published by Red Lemonade
ISBN 10: 1935869175 ISBN 13: 9781935869177
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Bookhouse COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Red Lemonade. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 1935869175. Seller Inventory # Z1935869175ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 14.17
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

8.

Melo, Richard
Published by Red Lemonade
ISBN 10: 1935869175 ISBN 13: 9781935869177
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Qwestbooks COM LLC
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Red Lemonade. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 1935869175. Seller Inventory # Z1935869175ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 14.17
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

9.

Melo, Richard
Published by Red Lemonade
ISBN 10: 1935869175 ISBN 13: 9781935869177
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Vital Products COM LLC
(Southampton, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Red Lemonade. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 1935869175. Seller Inventory # Z1935869175ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 14.17
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

10.

Melo, Richard
Published by Red Lemonade
ISBN 10: 1935869175 ISBN 13: 9781935869177
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
BookShop4U
(PHILADELPHIA, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Red Lemonade. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 1935869175. Seller Inventory # Z1935869175ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 14.42
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book