Good Talk

A Memoir in Conversations
Length: 2 hrs and 46 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (181 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A bold, wry, and intimate memoir about American identity, interracial families, and the realities that divide us, from the acclaimed author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing.

“By turns hilarious and heart-rending, it’s exactly the book America needs at this moment.” (Celeste Ng)

“How brown is too brown?”

“Can Indians be racist?”

“What does real love between really different people look like?”

Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. At first, they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she’s gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and of course, love. 

Written with humor and vulnerability, this deeply relatable graphic memoir is a love letter to the art of conversation - and to the hope that hovers in our most difficult questions. 

Read by: Vikas Adam, Shiromi Arserio, McCartney Birdwell, Donte Bonner, Bill Cheng, Nicole Counts, Margaret Dunham, Chris Edmund, Alison Fraser, Cecila Flores, Kaitlyn Greenridge, Alison Hart, Chris Jackson, Soneela Nankani, Victory Matsui, Kivlighan de Montebello, Meera Nair, Lorna Raver, Rajiv Surendra, Oliver Wyman, and an ensemble cast 

Praise for Good Talk

“[A] breezy but poignant...memoir that takes on racism, love, and the election of President Trump.... The collage effect creates an odd, immediate intimacy. [Mira Jacob] employs pages of narrative prose sparingly but hauntingly.... The ‘talks’ Jacob relates are painful, often hilarious, and sometimes absurd, but her memoir makes a fierce case for continuing to have them.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A beautiful and eye-opening account of what it means to mother a brown boy and what it means to live in this country post-9/11, as a person of color, as a woman, as an artist.... In Jacob’s brilliant hands, we are gifted with a narrative that is sometimes hysterically funny, always honest, and ultimately healing.” (Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn)

“Mira Jacob just made me toss everything I thought was possible in a book-as-art-object into the garbage. Her new book changes everything.” (Kiese Laymon, New York Times best-selling author of Heavy)

©2019 Mira Jacob (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

Good Talk begins with a child’s innocent questions about race and evolves into an honest, direct, and heartbreakingly funny journey. As a brown-skinned woman married to a Jewish man and the mother of a biracial child, I experienced this book on multiple levels: It broke my heart and made me laugh a helluva lot, but, in the end, it also forced me to ponder whether I have successfully provided the answers necessary to arm my own children against racism in America.” (Lynn Nottage, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Sweat)

What listeners say about Good Talk

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Inspiring, funny, very good yet quick read

Loved every chapter and the timeline hopping. I laughed and started tearing up. Highly recommend. Perfect for the summer!

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Wonderful, wonderful

This is excellent—smart, funny, touching, full of life. It’s so well done as an audiobook, too. It’s an intense pleasure to get to listen in on all these conversations. I love every character’s voice, both in what each person says and how each narrator brings the talk to life. It’s deliciously wonderful, and I’m so glad I listened.

4 people found this helpful

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Powerful Story

Beautiful work, made even more powerful as an audio performance. This was intensely personal, reflecting the larger context as it impacts the author - making it very accessible and heartbreaking. As I watch the world around us with absolute horror, I am grateful to the author for the gift of this book and audio performance.

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Performance is Amazing

I cannot imagine being the mother of a bi-racial child. I am the sibling of a mixed race brother and this book gave me an idea of what it must have been like for my mother to field some of the questions he asked growing up. I think this book should be standard reading for any household that has mixed race individuals. Even if you are not a parent of a young child, experiencing the prospective in an approachable way of a POC is something everyone needs to experience. Simple things I never thought of were brought to a new light when viewing through someone elses eyes, and this book does a good job of doing that.

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Seeing and hearing, it’s beautiful

Serious, funny and reality of today’s world. Racism is real and too many people are sleep walking in society. A must read!

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WOW! An awesomely GOOD TALK!

As an Indian American, a part of the first wave, born to an American Mom and an Indian Dad, who grew up in both countries, I could relate to a lot of what Mira went through. I saw the "auntie's" fawning over lighter skinned children, especially the boys (why are the boys generally lighter than girls, who knows?)!; and the presumption of what profession the children will take, who they will marry and "life path" they will most definitely follow. As a college student in the "South", at my father's alma mater, where he was the first Indian engineering student to be admitted, to graduate with a B.Sc. and a M.Sc.,; both of us being in the same Frat. my Dad, who is Caucasian, wasn't white, but Indian, and my parents eloping across the border to get married to the love of his life, a white woman, fast forward to my experiences at the same place 30 years hence, where my experiences were similar but different. Regardless of my differences with Mira (me being male, my parents, and how and where I grew up), there was and still is a lot of commonality with how the "typical American" looks upon "Asians", the lazy and ignorant nomenclature for everyone all the way from Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Burmese, Thai, Sri Lankan, Indian (dots not feathers - when I first heard this I wasn't quite sure how to process it, a long story), Pakistani, Nepali, Bhutani, Sikkimi, and Bangladeshi and on (apologies to those I have missed). Why not go back to do what the colonial Brits did, and say East Asian, South Asian, West Asian, as it is more descriptive and accurate, but would it be acceptable in these days of hyper-nationalism? I can relate to her life decisions and I'm sure we share more experiences for example, at Indian/South Asian pot lucks, and life milestones events and festivals which is great fodder for another several "Talks"! Interestingly, I am seeing the 2nd generation, the children and grand childrenof Indian immigrants integrating with Americans much easier. unlike those before us, we are not as tied to doing what will please our parents, as much as the previous generation (which is why my parents marrying was such a big deal and perhaps illegal even, in the very very early 1950's). But I am seeing that we Americans of Indian heritage are aware of being happy ourselves as many have seen their parents like Mira's (not that it is bad at all, just one way of making things work by tradition, compromise and respecting our parents wishes) and want something different for ourselves. I look forward to the day when we are all welcomed everyday as "Americans" without losing our identity, to continue to strive towards a more equal and perfect union for our children and theirs. And dear reader, if you couldn't tell, I loved this audiobook! Well done Mira! I'm looking forward to your next "Talk"!

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Beautiful, Heartbreaking, Real

Mira Jacob keeps lighthearted humor, or comic relief, trickling through her amazingly portrayed account of sharing the heartbreaking truth of racism with her young son as she recounts so many ways she's desensitized by years of life as a dark skinned minority woman in the racist United States.

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Laugh out loud funny in that painful way

I loved the cast of this book and think listening is the way to go. The racism and xenophobia is tangible and painful and yet she tells it in a way that is funny and poignant. Loved.

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One of my favorites this year!

This book is an absolute must! Thought provoking, funny, endearing, and an honest commentary about how the current state of our country will impact future generations.

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Wonderful storytelling

I loved this short book of stories told in the form of conversations. Some stories were hard to relive, specifically 911 and the 2016 election, but in a way it was cathartic.