Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Open Line Paperback – May 1, 2008
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
More About the Author
You can find her blog at http://notesfromtheuk.com, her website at http://www.ellenhawley.com, and her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ellenhawleyfacepage?fref=ts.
Top Customer Reviews
With a few quick words, Hawley lets us into her characters' inner conflicts: "No sane human being, she told herself, would take them for a couple, and then a few minutes later she had to tell herself the same thing all over again."
The descriptions in Open Line are elegantly simple and highly evocative: "Her voice ran high on the scale, threatening to spin into the infrared." Or "Annette closed the door, putting a slab of painted wood and a drywall sandwich between herself and that easy voice."
All in all, an entertaining tale of how a handful of opportunists can use the media to make an idea -- any idea -- seem real and plausible.
The key to good fiction is whether a reader can believe the characters, as well as the story they live out in the book. Not only did I not have any trouble recognizing characters like those in "Open Line" as key elements of our politically-degenerated culture, but the tale Ms. Hawley weaves--about a bored radio host nearly setting off a national movement by off-handedly suggesting, tongue not so firmly in cheek, that perhaps the Vietnam War never really happened--was so realistic it was frightening.
In the old days of yellow journalism, shameless newspaper reporters and editors would say a writer shouldn't let the facts get in the way of a good story. Unfortunately, we've come full circle, with thousands of mainstream news outlets fighting for attention, credibility and ad dollars with rogue bloggers and YouTube correspondents. The result is that journalism is being increasingly diluted and even polluted with unverified and unreliable "news" reporting, irresponsible speculation by "expert" analysts, as well as outright, often calculated lies.
In such a poisonous atmosphere, it is quite plausible that a desperate radio talk show host could propel herself to a national platform by riding a wave of paranoia (not all unjustified) about government "black ops" and full-fledged misinformation.Read more ›
Even her personal life awakens when rich Republican supporter Walter Bishop begins to court her. Walter uses her "belief" to launch a presidential bid for a relatively unknown wannabe and radical conservative Stan Marlin who supports her stand. Heeding their advice, Annette refuses to back down from her stance that there never was a Vietnam War. While some Viet Vets thinks she is a buffoon; others protest; and some still reliving their horrors seek closure through her.
This superb satire showcases the power of the media in which misinformation, disinformation, omissions, and fabrications are the norm. The key to this terrific tale is the players seem genuine especially Annette whose eloquent defense of her radical revisionism rings true. For those who reject the underlying concept remember there is an Iranian president denying the Holocaust; many people disbelieving the moon landings and a prominent right wing talk show host who using clever questioning of the vice president made it sound like Richard Clarke was below the inner security sanctum before 9/11. It is not WHAT HAPPENED as McClellan has said, it's the spin. Well written and entreating, fans who appreciate a biting condemnation of the news will understand that Eisenhower's military-government complex omitted the third partner the media.
And of course, the problem with so many of these ideas is that most of them are ones that people are better off not paying any attention to, either founded on false pretense or being simply idiotic. Christopher Buckley explored this idea in "Boomsday" where a blogger suggests exterminating the baby boomers to save the government funds, and Ellen Hawley has now explored it in her novel "Open Line," an intriguing yet unsatisfying look at saying the wrong thing at the right time.
Trapped in the echo chamber that is late-night Midwest talk radio, Annette Majoris finally succumbs to her boredom and off-handedly suggests to a caller that the Vietnam War never actually happened. As the topic begins to generate calls from veterans and conspiracy nuts, it also attracts the attention of the equally disaffected Stan Marlin, who quickly sees that her theory can be a unifying issue for his conservative political group.
Soon, thanks to Stan's research and a rapidly growing listener base, Annette finds herself turning into a star. She begins dating the wealthy Republican lobbyist Walter Bishop, engages in serious talks with the governor about putting her listeners on his side and finds her show pulling in listeners on all ends of the political spectrum.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author takes a talk host fifteen minutes of fame and turns it into illusions, greed and politics with a touch or romance thrown in for good measure. Read morePublished on June 13, 2010 by Jill Bemis
Open Line is...boring. I only got a few chapers in before giving up. I had to, I kept falling asleep. All that internal dialogue didn't do muct to keep things moving. Read morePublished on August 31, 2008 by Dog Mom