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Fiction Literary

Double Talk

by (author) Patrick Warner

Breakwater Books Ltd.
Initial publish date
Feb 2011
Literary, Coming of Age, Urban Life
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2011
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2011
    List Price

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Double Talk tells the story of Violet Budd and Brian (Baby) Power, two characters fleeing from their past. Brian is ambling after an immigrant’s dream, and Violet is desperate to ditch her middle class origins for something more earthy and bohemian. Their contrary social and geographical flight paths intersect in St. John’s, Newfoundland in the early 1980s, where, for a time, they find love, sex, and a safe haven in each other. No happy-ever-after story, Double Talk follows Violet and Brian over a fourteen-year period, starting at the end instead of the beginning, as the ordinary pressures of life bring to the surface the many differences that exist between them. Double Talk is a coming-of-age novel, a love story and an examination of social class and its mysterious codes.

About the author

In 2007, Patrick Warner won the E.J. Pratt Poetry Prize Award for his collection, There, there. His first collection of poetry, All Manner of Misunderstanding, was nominated for the 2002 Atlantic Poetry Prize and for the 2003 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards. His work has been published in TickleAce, The Fiddlehead, Matrix, Signal, the Sunday Telegram (St. John's), Poetry Ireland Review, and Metre (Ireland). He lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Patrick Warner's profile page


  • Winner, IPPY Awards, Silver Medal, Best Regional Fiction, Canada-East

Editorial Reviews

"It moves. It's a page turner."

Joan Sullivan, the Telegram

"The book's cover is a fitting harbinger of the doom to follow [...] Warner does not disappoint."

Sharon Hunt, the Chronicle Herald

"Throughout the novel, Warner’s use of dark humour and aphoristic insights pair well with the universality [of] this story, and spares it from being maudlin, and also renders it distinct from similar stories."

Salty Ink

"I'm glad someone has finally written a story about the grimey late 80s in downtown St. John's. The book is a brilliant examination of a doomed relationship."

Angela Antle, On the Line Magazine

“double talk is a haunting and heart-bruising tale of searching out love only to shred it on the sharp edge of human failing. With an unmatched gift for description and exceptional insight, Warner writes about people in a way that makes you run to the mirror and take a long, hard look.”

Leslie Vryenhoek, author of Scrabble Lessons

"The Newfoundland banter is spot on, as is the domestic tension that hangs like St. John's fog."

Mike Landry, Telegraph-Journal

“double talk walks the double walk, as Warner masterfully and compassionately dissects the relationship of Violet and Brian. double talk begins at the end, ends in the middle, and keeps you engrossed throughout – a tour de force of the novelist’s art.”

Larry Mathews, author of The Artificial Newfoundlander

“double talk is more than a simple he-said/she-said account of a doomed marriage. It’s an exhilarating (and sometimes terrifying) look at the murky complexities that lie under the surface of all relationships.”

Michael Crummey, author of Galore, River Thieves, and The Wreckage

"In this often racy story which spares us little in the way of detail, Warner crafts a satisfying first novel - simultaneously funny and sad, and, at times, wrenching. Highly recommended."

Darrell Squires, the Wester Star

"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."

Kerri Cull, The Book Fridge

Near the end of Double Talk, Brian ‘Baby’ Power laments to himself,“Oh sweet mercy, was life ever just one thing at one time?”Since Double Talk is “a love story in reverse”by this point in the novel we’ve just spent 200 pages learning that love, like life, is never one thing at one time. Already author of three poetry collections, Double Talk is Patrick Warner’s first novel. Beginning with a domestic abuse incident, Warner alternates chapters from Violet to Brian’s memories of their relationship. The Newfoundland banter is spot on, as is the domestic tension that hangs like St. John’s fog. Warner ably reveals Violet’s character to explain how the relationship-ending abuse happened. But Brian, perhaps because like Warner moved from Ireland to the island only to find disappointment, is less disclosed

Mike Laundry, Telegraph-Journal

"All in all an interesting, if not wholly satisfying, read."

Denise Flint, Downhome

“Whether he’s dealing with the shadow of a mosquito or a journey through the shadow of the valley of death, Warner never skimps on the compassionate intelligence a writer owes his subjects. And then there’s the humour, great lashings of it.”

Susan Rendell, author of In the Chambers of the Sea

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