Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Mezzanine (by Nicholson Baker)

An Ian recommendation (I read it in exchange for his reading Harriet the Spy, which he somehow had never read. He was duly impressed, of course.) I'd been wanting to read this for years, so am very happy I finally picked it up, the first of two airplane reads for our recent trip to Ohio.

It's a slim book, a mere 123 pages, that takes place entirely in the mind of the narrator as he rides an escalator up to the mezzanine level of his office building. It's actually a reminiscence of one time he took the escalator. It's full of musings on the minutia of daily life, and it's wonderfully detailed and textured, very funny, very clever.

In my notes I wrote, "rich specificity, purely enjoyable reading experience." I should also note that it filled me with nostalgia for the technology of yore, which is ironic since the narrator is also musing about the technology of his yore. But it talks about the "While You Were Out" pad, and memos circulating around an office, and other stuff that the Internet has made obsolete. It adds a layer of charm to a book that's already plenty charming.

A++ would read again.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Nimble said...

N. Baker: gloriously wordy and observant but also earthy. I liked Room Temperature very much too.

7:52 AM  
Blogger mo pie said...

The only other one of his I know of is Holes, and... I might need to work my way up to that one! Thanks for the rec.

9:03 AM  
OpenID Laura said...

Harriet the Spy was a book I read *multiple* times when I was younger and have often wondered if it would hold up now, if it would "age" well.

1:41 PM  

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